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Hornets fall 16-14 at Todd County Central

The Hornets saw their playoff hopes dashed when they lost 16-14 to the Rebels at Todd County Central during the final district game Friday. Hancock County will close out its season this week with a ‘Senior Night’ home game against Holy Cross of Louisville.

“We made too many mistakes to win this game. We hung in there, the defense played great and we forced several turnovers, but we had entirely too many penalties,” HCHS coach Bobby Eubanks said. “It’s a disappointment for our kids. They’ve worked hard to get to this point, but the bottom line is we didn’t do enough.”

The Hornets had the first good opportunity to score when Aiden Weatherholt blocked a punt that gave the offense possession at the Rebels 35 yard line. The drive stalled due to costly penalties, but Jack Roberts gave Hancock County a second chance when he intercepted a Rebel pass at the Hornets’ 45 yard line and returned it 28 yards to the Rebel 27.

Hancock County later turned the ball over on downs at the 18 and Todd County began a drive that carried over into the second quarter. Hornet senior Braydon Wathen made a big tackle for a loss on a fourth down attempt as Todd followed with a turnover on downs.

The Hornets had great field position, but a Cole Dixon pass was picked off by Nate Reding and the Rebels got bonus yardage after a personal foul was called on Hancock. Jamarion Smith later fininshed off the first scoring drive with a short plunge into the end zone. Reding added the conversion and Todd County led 8-0.

Dixon went back to pass again on the ensuing drive, but this time he saw a running lane and took off. The senior showed impressive speed as he out ran defenders all the way to the goal line for a 58-yard touchdown. The conversion failed and the home team led 8-6 at halftime.

The Rebels received to begin the second half and Logan Willis made a big tackle for a loss that put Todd County in a third–and–16 situation. On the next play Smith took a hand off running up the middle. He broke into the open and raced 65 yards for a TD, but the play was called back on a penalty.

The Hornets later had the ball at their own 38 yard line when Dixon looked to pass. The ball was tipped and fell into the hands of Todd County’s Antonio Fitzgerald.

The Rebels were driving when Wathen grabbed the quarterback and forced a fumble. Weatherholt made the recovery and the Hornet offense was in business.

Another big run by Dixon gave the Hornets a first down deep in Rebel territory. Willis used his muscle to move the sticks and Jack Duncan followed with a hard running first down. Hancock County had a first–and–goal, but another penalty pushed them back. The drive eventually stalled and the Rebels took possession at the one yard line.

Alex Basham delivered a huge hit on the Rebel QB and Hornet defense forced Todd to punt the ball away.

Austin Volocko made a nice return across midfield and a vicious late hit on Drew Lyday gave the Hornets a first down at the Rebel 29 yard line. Dixon moved the sticks when he crossed into the red zone then Duncan took a screen pass and looked to have scored the go-ahead TD. Unfortunately, the play was called back on penalty and the Hornets later turned it over on downs.

Todd County mounted a drive and Smith capped it off when he broke free on a 30-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. The conversion was successful and the score was 16-6.

Two incredible runs by Dixon put the Hornets into scoring position, but another penalty pushed the offense back again.

A first down run by Willis and a catch by Kaleb Keown gave HCHS a first down inside the Rebel five yard line.  Willis later scored the TD on a run up the middle and Keown completed a pass to Volocko make the score 16-14 with 1:29 remaining.

Volocko then tried for an onside kick and Weatherholt made the recovery. Suddenly, the Hornets had life.

Hancock County took possession at the Rebel 43 yard line, but a holding penalty in the backfield pushed the ball way back. Dixon threw deep several times, but to no avail.

Todd County took the win and will face Mayfield in an opening round playoff game on November 4th.

Stats

Dixon completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 68 yards with three INTs. Duncan had four receptions for 23 yards, Volocko caught two for 22 yards and Keown had three catches for 12 yards.

Dixon led in rushing with 111 yards on eight carries. Willis gained 39 yards on nine tries, Duncan ran 10 times for 31 yards, Volocko ran for three yards and Landen Garrison ran for two.

Weatherholt led the defense with 15 total tackles, and Ross Powers had 11 stops. Roberts and Duncan made 10 tackles each, Wathen had seven, Volocko five, Basham (sack), Lyday and Garrison all made four each, Willis and Aiden Thrasher had two each, and Dixon had one.

By Steve Wimmer

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