CORBIN - The Somerset High School Briar Jumper football team defense stopped the Corbin Redhounds on their final scoring opportunity for a 27-26 victory at Corbin Friday night.
Not only did the Jumpers get any old win, but they won against a team they have a rich history with to finish their regular season and go into the playoffs with a 9-1 record. It was also Somerset head coach Robbie Lucas's 100th career win.
"Very evenly matched game," said coach Lucas. "As we thought, Corbin was better than most believed…Long standing traditional rival and a game that I'm glad we have back on the schedule. Not crazy about where it falls in our season."
Midway through the fourth quarter, with the Briar Jumpers up 27-20, Redhound freshman quarterback Cameron Combs connected with senior receiver Jacob Steely who was wide open down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown.
After a neutral zone infraction penalty on the extra point attempt that sent the Corbin halfway to the distance of the goal, the Redhounds offensive unit came back out for a two-point conversion attempt.
Combs handed it off to senior running back Nick Yeager, who had spurts of offensive success throughout the night. Yeager cut right but was met by a pack of Jumper defenders led by senior linebacker Jace Bruner, just before the goal line which kept Somerset ahead by one at 27-26.
Somerset pounded it down field with multiple runners to try and take time off the clock and put it in the endzone to ensure a win.
The Jumpers did have some success on the ground as the carried it all the way to the Corbin 19-yard line. At that point, the Redhounds stopped Somerset at the line of scrimmage to force a third and ten.
Junior quarterback Kaiya Sheron attempted a pass to senior receiver Jayden Gilmore in the back of the endzone, but the pass was broken up by sophomore Treyveon Longmire forcing a fourth down with ten to go.
Sheron attempted another pass in the endzone on fourth down but was intercepted off a tip, giving the Redhounds one more opportunity to with just under two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.
After two first downs, Combs was dropped for a loss on first down, then him and Longmire both carried for no gain. The Jumper defense had the Redhounds right where they wanted them on fourth and fourteen with well under a minute left.
Combs took a shot down field but was incomplete giving the Jumpers the 27-26 win.
Early in the game, it was a very fast paced start to the rivalry game. After the Jumper defense forced a three and out on Corbin's opening drive, they took it down field with ease on offense.
Somerset easily pushed the ball down field on their first offensive opportunity with a pair of completions from Sheron to junior receiver Kade Grundy, a completion to Gilmore, and carries by Bruner, Cam Austin, and Sheron himself.
Junior Mikey Garland punctuated the Jumper's strong offensive opening with a touchdown run from two yards out. After a successful point after attempt by senior Tommy Wombles, Somerset led 7-0 with just under six minutes left in the first period.
The Redhounds looked totally different on offensive following the Somerset score. Combs really got in a rhythm with back to back completions to freshman Dakota Patterson, then another pair of completions over the middle to senior tight end Ethan Wine.
The second completion from Combs to Wine, was for a 17-yard score. After a successful PAT by freshman Jacob Baker, the score was even at 7-7 late in the opening quarter.
Following the Corbin score, the Briar Jumpers wasted no time answering as they moved the ball 66-yards downfield on their first offensive play of the drive.
Somerset started their drive on their own 28-yard line, and Sheron found Grundy open down the left side line. Grundy was finally pushed out inside the Corbin 10-yard line. Somerset then handed it off to Garland two plays in a row, and he ran in his second touchdown of the game this time from just a yard out to put his Jumpers up 14-7.
Just before the first quarter ended, Combs was intercepted by Somerset defensive back Ricky Gilmore. The interception gave Somerset the ball heading into the second period.
However, the Jumpers did not score off the turnover which really set a trend for the second quarter. The quarter was ruled by the defenses as both got multiple stops and the Jumpers forced a second runover with a fumble recovery by senior Tate Madden. Despite the turnover, neither team could score leaving Somerset on top 14-7 heading into halftime.
The trend seemed to have carried over to the third quarter until the end of it when Corbin slowly but surely pushed it up field into Somerset territory with their ground attack and big completion from Combs to Longmire.
Yeager finished off the drive and helped even the score at 14-14 with a 2-yard touchdown run as time expired in the third quarter.
Again, Somerset was quick to answer the Corbin touchdown as Sheron connected with J. Gilmore for 14-yard on a third and ten situation. On the very next play, Bruner broke a pair of tackles and went 34-yards to the endzone to help put the Jumpers up 21-14 early in the fourth period.
Yeager went on a tear for the Redhounds as he carried the ball three times in a row to put Corbin inside the Somerset 10-yard line. When there, Combs scored on a one-yard keeper.
The Redhounds lined up on the point after attempt to try and tie up the game, but Ricky Gilmore blazed around the edge of the line and blocked the kick leaving the Jumpers ahead, 21-20.
On their first offensive play back out, Grundy received a screen pass from Sheron, broke a tackle and outran the Redhound defense down the left side of the field for a 54-yard touchdown.
However, a missed point after by Wombles put the Redhounds down by just a score and an extra point. Followed the missed attempt, the Jumper defense stood strong on the two point conversion attempt and Corbin's final drive later in the fourth to help the Jumpers escape Corbin with a close win.
"Our offensive line was missing three starters and still acquitted itself very well. The run game and in pass protection, we didn't miss a beat," said coach Lucas on the performance. "Running backs Bruner, Garland and Austin were very effective. It was a physical and hard-fought game. Sheron connected with several receivers while Kade Grundy had a career night. Tate madden caused and recovered a turnover. The defense made a game saving stand."
Grundy was Somerset's top performer on the night as he finished with ten catches for 212 yards and a touchdown.
The win gave the Jumpers a 9-1 record on the season and they will be back in action next Friday in the first round of the Class 2A playoff bracket where they will face off with a district rival, the Danville Admirals.