The Bourbon County Colonels were able to dodge a few early bullets and wore Middlesboro down in the second half as they pulled away for a 34-0 win in the season opener for both teams Friday.
The Jackets hung tough in the early going, forcing a three-and-out on the first Bourbon possession and then Camre Stephney recovered a fumble on the second.
Jake Brock, who led Middlesboro with 86 yards on ten carries, broke a 19-yard run around the left end to give the Jackets a first and goal at the Colonel 5. But two plays later Charles Johnson stepped in front of a Major Edwards pass intended for Zach Riddle and took it back 99 yards and Bourbon County led 7-0 with 3:09 to play in the first quarter.
Kentayvous Hopkins was held to 65 yards on 14 first half carries, but broke a 20-yard touchdown with 2:39 to go before the half for a 13-0 lead.
Middlesboro’s Ryan Pittman returned the ensuing kick 81 yards all the way to the Colonel 9. But the Jackets’ drive stalled in the final second of the half.
“Things didn’t go our way but I felt like we out-played them in the first half. We got the ball down there a couple of times inside the five and couldn’t come away with anything,” Middlesbor coach Randy Frazier said. “Then we don’t wrap up, don’t stop them — It’s something we’ve got to learn from.
“I felt like we had them on the ropes a couple times and were just one play away from taking the lead.”
Middlesboro opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 60-yard drive that stalled at the Bourbon 15.
Hopkins had runs of 18 and 35 yards on the next Colonel drive. Quarterback Dalton Pope added a 30-yard scramble and two plays later Marquaze Hill scored on a four-yard run. Pope’s pass to Hayden Cox made it 21-0 with 2:59 to play in the third quarter.
Hopkins added an 11-yard touchdown pass from Pope early in the fourth and Houston Cox scored on a 15-yard run with 6:00 to play to set the final at 34-0. Both of those last two touchdowns came on fourth-down plays.
“One game doesn’t make a season, but at the same time we feel like we’re a much better team than we showed here tonight,” said Frazier. “Our running game was a lot better, I felt like we played better up front, it’s just a matter of finishing. We’ve got a young football team and I saw tons of stuff out there that we can build on.”
Hopkins finished with 120 yards on 17 carries, Pope added 65 yards on eight rushes and Cox added 53 yards on two carries for Bourbon. Pope was 6-of-10 passing for 75 yards and the touchdown.
Brock led the Jackets with those 86 rushing yards, Parker Uhl added 40 yards on ten carries while Edwards and Seth Barton combined for 32 more yards on the ground. Edwards was 3-of-10 passing for 11 yards and an interception.
“We knew coming into the season with so many young kids that this could happen. But we’re going to try and improve each week and by the time district play gets here we’ll be ready,” Frazier said.
Middlesboro (0-1) plays at Hancock County, Tenn. next Friday while Bourbon County (1-0) hosts Madison Southern.
— — —
Bourbon Co.76813 — 34
Middlesboro 000 0 — 0
BC — Charles Johnson 99 interception return (Joshue Soriano kick)
BC — Kentayvous Hopkins 20 run (kick fail)
BC — Marquaze Hill 4 run (Hayden Cox pass from Dalton Pope)
BC — Hopkins 11 pass from Pope (kick fail)
BC — Houston Cox 15 run (Soriano kick)