The HCHS Hornet defense was again on display when Hancock County defeated Breckinridge County 22-12 in a game played between longtime rivals at GN Excavating Stadium Friday.
“It feels good. It’s not always pretty but we’re 2-0 on our brand new field and we’re proud of that,” HCHS coach Bobby Eubanks said.
The defense set the tone early when the Tigers attempted a fake punt from their own 22 yard line on the game’s opening possession. Hayden Shearn made the tackle at the 25 and the Hancock offense was in business.
Chris Gillispie ran inside and Landen Garrison ran outside to the four yard line before the Hornets went to their ‘Marine’ power backfield. Aiden Thrasher carried to the one then Luke Pritchard went in for the touchdown and Hancock County led 6-0.
Tyce Boling kicked off for the Hornets and his kick to the right sidelines was recovered by Shearn and Wyatt Emmick.
The offense later turned the ball over on downs before the defense pushed Breck back. A sack by Eli Embry and a tackle for loss by Shearn highlighted the series.
Alex Madden had a first down catch from Dylan Morris early in the second quarter. The drive eventually stalled and Christian Yanez was back in punt formation when the snap got away from the freshman. Yanez came up short when he tried to run for the first down, but he delivered a blow to a Breck defender that fired up the Hornets’ sidelines.
The Tigers’ offense finally got rolling and QB Wyatt Burnett led his team on a scoring drive that was capped off by a 16 yard TD pass to Lance Poole.
The teams went to halftime with the score tied.
Aiden Weatherholt made the first big defensive play of the second half when he hit Burnett in the Tiger backfield and forced a fumble. Embry made the recovery and the Hornets had a first–and–10 at the Breck 13 yard line.
Hancock County was pushed back on penalties, but Morris completed a pass to Brady Eubanks and on the next play the QB tried to run for a first down. He was taken down inside the Tigers’ five yard line short of the line to gain.
The Hornet “D” held and the offense got the ball back after a punt by Breck. Hancock started the drive at the Tiger 25 yard line and Madden made a catch inside the 20. Garrison picked up a first down on a pass and catch to the seven yard line before Gillispie took it to the house on a 7-yard TD run as the quarter expired.
Thrasher bowled over a defender for the 2-point conversion and the Hornets led 14-6. Burnett and the Tigers still had some life in them and Chase Hardesty made a 35 yard catch for a first down at the Hornets’ 33 yard line. On the next play a hand off to Ladarian Parker resulted in a 33-yard TD run for Breck. The conversion try failed and Hancock County led 14-12 with 11:12 remaining in the fourth.
A catch by Jaxson Morris and a first down run by Gillispie pushed the Hornets across midfield. The offense was pushed back to the 45 and on third down Dylan Morris threw deep to Cooper Jones. The sophomore made the catch at the Tiger 20 and ran to the two yard line before being dragged down.
A Hornet fumble was recovered by the home team at the six, but a second fumble was recovered by Breck County at the 10 and the drive was stopped.
Burnett nearly returned the favor with a fumble and was later hit by Trevan Coiles on a pass attempt that fell short of the line of scrimmage. Breck punted the ball away and Hancock started another drive inside Tiger Territory at the 46 yard line.
The Hornets advanced the ball to the 29 on a catch by Jones and runs by Gillispie and Dylan Morris. The Hornet QB then looked right and found Garrison open at the five yard line. The senior made the catch and was marked down just short of the goal line. Dylan Morris took the ball into the end zone on a QB sneak and Pritchard scored the conversion to make it 22-12 with 1:33 left on the clock.
The game was sealed when Garrison intercepted a Burnett pass attempt near midfield and the Hornets celebrated the
“The kids are playing really hard and it’s been tough, as hot as it’s been. We’ve all probably sweat off about 10-20 pounds so credit to the team… they really battled and did what they had to do to win,” Eubanks said.
Jaxson Morris will be out of action this Friday after suffering a shoulder injury during the win against Breck County. Jack Roberts and Tristan French are probable for Friday’s game at Ohio County.
Alex Basham has surgery planned for this week. He said Friday that his best hope for a return would be the playoffs.
Weatherholt led the tackle chart this week with 10 stops, including one sack and one TFL. Shearn had six tackles and two TFLs, Ross Powers had six stops with one TFL, Jones made five tackles, Lawson Ward had five stops and one TFL, Eubanks and Eli Embry had four tackles each, Aiden Embry had three with one TFL, Coiles made three tackles, Pritchard had one TFL and Carson Clark and Garrison had one tackle each.
Gillispie led in rushing with 70 yards on 17 carries. Dylan Morris gained 32 yards on five runs, Garrison had nine yards, Jaxson Morris and Pritchard had eight yards each, Weatherholt and Thrasher gained three yards each.
Morris completed 9 of 15 pass attempts for 136 yards. Jones caught two for 59 yards, Garrison three for 44 yards, Madden two for 18 yards, Eubanks one for 18 yards and Jaxson Morris one for seven yards.
By Steve Wimmer