The Hornets and the Aces played evenly through the first two quarters before Owensboro Catholic pulled away in the second half to win 48-12 over Hancock County at Schafer–Glover Field Friday. It was the first loss of the season for the Hornets as they saw their record slip to 5-1.
“We felt like we had some momentum going into the second half, but we came out a little flat. We got behind the sticks early and the big ball to Evan (Ferry) got called back. After that we went the wrong direction and it kinda snowballed from there,” HCHS coach Bobby Eubanks said.
The Aces went to their passing game on the opening drive. Catholic quarterback Brady Atwell showed pin point accuracy on short attempts while moving the ball into Hornet territory. Alex Basham dropped Atwell for a loss on two occasions and Drew Lyday delivered a big hit on Catholic receiver Waryn Ebelhar in the end zone that forced a turnover on downs.
The Hornet offense did not secure a first down and after a short punt the Aces had the ball across mid field for their second offensive chance. Atwell completed multiple aerials to reach the nine yard line then rolled out to his right and connected with William Carrico for the game’s first touchdown.
The second TD of the game also belonged to Catholic. The Aces started with great field position at the Hornets 39 yard line and Atwell immediately went to the air. Completions to Mitchell Sims and Kaiser Frick set up an 8-yard TD pass from Atwell to Carrico and the score was 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The Hornets faced a third-and-long on their next possession and the coach tried something different. Cole Dixon pitched the ball to Kaleb Keown, who threw deep to Austin Volocko, but the pass was intercepted by Lincoln Ferguson and the Aces took over at their own 36 yard line.
A big run by Atwell gave Catholic a first down at the Hornet 25 yard line. The Aces later reached the three then started to go backwards. Braydon Wathen made a tackle in the backfield and two penalties pushed the visitors back to the 25. Atwell then threw to the end zone, but Lyday was perfectly placed and the senior picked off the pass to give possession back to the home team.
The Hancock offense got rolling when Dixon completed a pass to Evan Ferry for a first down. Dixon looked to pass again but he was under heavy pressure. The senior slipped a defender then rolled out to the left and found Landon Garrison open at the 45 yard line. Garrison out ran two defenders on a big gain to the Aces’ 15 yard line. The 50 yard play gave the Hornets their best chance yet.
Dixon scrambled to his right and the QB used his legs to pick up another first down inside the five yard line. Logan Willis then ran up the middle for a 4-yard TD and the Hornets were on the scoreboard, trailing 14-6 with 1:33 remaining in the first half.
Atwell took hard shots from Aiden Weatherholt and Basham before facing a third down at his own 25 yard line. He threw across the middle and Volocko jumped in front of the intended receiver and made the interception. The safety returned the ball 46 yards for a spectacular pick-6 and the huge home crowd went wild! Basham reached for the pylon on the conversion try but the officials called him down short of the goal line.
The two teams later went to the locker rooms with Catholic leading 14-12 after a very entertaining first half of play.
Hancock County received the ball to begin the second half and momentum was on the side of the Hornets. Dixon threw deep and Ferry made the catch inside the Catholic red zone, but the play was nullified by penalty and things went downhill from there for the Hornets.
Dixon’s next pass was intercepted and the visitors took possession. The Aces stayed mostly on the ground and mounted a drive that concluded with a 1-yard TD plunge by Vince Carrico.
The Hornets tried to answer and Jack Duncan gave the team two first downs, but a holding penalty pushed the boys back. Dixon was later scrambling when an Aces’ defender stripped him of possession. Kaleb Swihart made the recovery for Hancock but Catholic got the ball back after a Volocko punt.
The Aces advanced the ball into the red zone as time expired on the third quarter.
The Hornets were hurt by multiple penalties and Vince Carrico capped off the drive with a 3-yard TD run.
Catholic got the ball right back when the ensuing kickoff was not covered by the Hornets. Atwell began from the Hancock 16 yard line and a few plays later he scored on a 1-yard sneak that made the score 34-12.
Catholic added two more fourth quarter scores on a 4-yard run and a 52-yard pick-6. Both were courtesy of William Carrico.
Dixon completed 7 of 14 pass attempts for 84 yard, with three INTs. Garrison made one catch for 50 yards, Duncan had three receptions for 17 yards, Ferry caught one for 11 yards, Volocko one for five yards and Willis one for one yard.
Willis carried 13 times for 34 yards rushing. Duncan gained 14 yards on four tries and Garrison had one carry for three yards.
Duncan led the defense with 18 tackles, including one for a loss. Ross Powers had 13 stops, with one TFL. Lyday and Weatherholt made 11 tackles each, Garrison had eight, Volocko seven, Jack Roberts six, Basham five (three TFLs), Wathen five (one TFL), Cooper Jones four, Luke Pritchard three, Willis, Colin Johnson and Chris Gillispie all had two each, and Keown had one tackle.
Atwell threw for 301 yards, with two TDs and two INTs. The Aces tallied 477 total yards of offense.
By Steve Wimmer