By BRUCE W. SINGLETON, CJ Correspondent
The Somerset Briar Jumpers (10-2) beat the Lexington Christian Eagles (6-6) 42-19 last night for their fourth straight trip to the Regional Finals.
To say the Eagles came into the game undermanned is a serious understatement. Eighteen Eagles were out to injury: enough to qualify them for the Southwestern High School raptor rescue program. But the kids from LCA played very bravely, hit the Jumpers with hard hits born from pride of the game, and even tried some of what Caywood Ledford used to call "the old dipsie doodle" plays.
On the other hand, Somerset came into the game relatively healthy. Tevin Slaughter was armed with the soft cast on his right hand, but he didn't let that stop him from making the defensive plays he has made every game this season. Tyler Megargel got a minor reinjury this week, but he didn't let that stop him from making the big stick when it counted after the fake punt turned into a one-yard-shy-of-the-first-down pass.
But even though the Jumpers were playing a physically inferior team, it cannot take away from the fact that they played with determination, skill, and the take-it-to-the-house mentality that they will need if they are going to be able to continue throughout the playoffs and be the last team standing.
The game started out real goofy.
That is a technical football term.
It means real goofy.
LCA came out in a wildcat formation with 6 men bunched up way over on the other side of the field, one man at center, and only one man off to his right. The formation was so confusing that even the players couldn’t figure it out, their team was penalized for motion, and the ball backed up 5 yards for another try.
That try was unsuccessful for the Eagles, but the Jumpers couldn’t do much with the ball that first set of downs either. The exchange gave the ball to the Jumpers on the LCA 30, and it took only one play for Freshman Quarterback Castle Hatcher to scamper to the end zone.
The next time the Jumpers had the ball, they scored through the air on a 21-yard Hatcher to Cheuvront pass.
And the Jumpers made it look easy.
I talked about the low-hanging fruit in the game preview yesterday. Junior Defensive Back Addison Thompson picked a piece of that fruit for his third interception of the season, and one play later, Junior Wide Receiver Cam Cheuvront made a trot to the end zone that got called back on a holding penalty.
Grind the ball down to the 3 and let Tyson Williams take it in.
The Jumpers were not a one-trick pony by any means last night.
The six touchdowns were scored by six different players: Tanner Gadberry, Cam Cheuvront, Tyson Williams, Bryson Jones, Will Lange, and Brycen McWilliams. When you add the perfect kicking record Chandler Dobbs brought to the table, that meant 7 Jumpers each had 6 points last night.
That is spreading the scoring around.
That is the type of thing that makes coaches scouting the film for later games have to add multiple dimensions to their game.
That is what it takes to win championships.
After the game, Jumper Head Coach Robbie Lucas spoke highly of his team and of the Eagles.
“I don’t know how much better we have gotten,” he said. “But I do know about LCA. They are beat to death. They have more injuries than any team I have ever seen. But again, we talk about adversity all the time. This group has come through adversity. They lost both of their quarterbacks, they came out, and they battled to the very end. They are still a very young team. You’ll see most of those guys back on that team next year.”
Even so, his team played very well: far better than we have seen for most of the season.
“We still have got room for improvement,” he said “Our freshman quarterback turned it over twice tonight, and that’s something we can’t do in these games.”
LCA was able to score three times late in the game when Lucas basically emptied his bench and let his team have playing time. They have earned it.
But the game was pretty much over long before the Eagles put a point on the scoreboard.
Somerset will get to host Danville next week at the Briar Patch. Danville came from behind to beat Prestonsburg 16-14, thereby saving the Jumpers from taking a 3-hour trip east.
That game will kick off at 7:30 November 16 for the Regional Championship and a trip to the Class 2A Final Four.
LCA 0 0 0 19 —19
SHS 14 14 14 0 —42
Somerset — Tanner Gadberry 30 run (Chandler Dobbs kick), 7:01
Somerset—Cam Cheuvront 27 pass from Castle Hatcher, (Dobbs kick) 1:09
Somerset---Tyson Willams 3 run, (Dobbs kick) 9:01
Somerset---Bryson Jones 33 run (Dobbs kick) 4:48
Somerset---Will Lange 33 run (Dobbs kick) 10:29
Somerset--- Brycen McWilliams 10 run (Dobbs kick) 3:58
LCA — Chandler Sneed 34 pass from Ryder Brown (Colin Duzyk kick) 9:53
LCA —Sneed 21 pass from Brown (kick failed) 4:44
LCA —Sneed 16 pass from Brown (conversion failed) 26.3
RUSHING—LCA—Chandler Sneed 6-42; Nick Whitman 3-10; Sam Maybriar 9-21, Ryder Brown 7-3. Somerset—Castle Hatcher 12-107 (1 TD); Bryson Jones 8-54 (1 TD); Will Lange 4-54 (1 TD); Tyson Williams 1-3 (1 TD); Tanner Gadberry 4-46 (1 TD); Brycen McWilliams 1-10 (1 TD); Dylan Keith 7-20
PASSING—LCA—Colin Duzyk 1-9; Chandler Sneed 1-4-3;Ryder Brown 9-11 (3 TD 1 INT); Somerset---Castle Hatcher 7-15 (1TD, 2 INT)
RECEIVING—LCA—Sneed 3-71 (3 TD); Sam Maybriar 1-15. Brown 2-3; Duzyk 2-minus 3; Adam Smith 1-1. Somerset Cam Cheuvront 5-59 (1 TD); Tyson Williams 1-4; Austin Coomer 1-17.
KICK RETURN—LCA—Robbie Fugua 2-19; Ryder Brown 3-70; Adam Smith 1-16; Somerset—Cam Cheuvront 3-51; Will Lange 1-42