In what was a close battle for the majority of the game, Middlesboro couldn’t pull off the upset over Whitley County on Friday. The Yellow Jacketes lost to the Colonels, 47-38.
“I thought our kids played well. Offensively, I thought we played really well. I thought we took a huge step forward, offensively,” said Middlesboro head coach Zach Massengill. “Defensively, we didn’t play real well. Part of that was due to the fact they (Whitley County) were pretty good.”
A strong offensive showing from Whitley County quarterback Luke Woods aided the Colonels in their victory over Middlesboro. The senior quarterback racked up 347 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 24 attempts.
In addition to that, Woods completed six passes on 11 attempts for 122 yards and one touchdown completion.
“I thought he (Jason Chappell) had a good offensive game plan,” said Massengill. “I thought he used his quarterback really well.”
Besides Woods, the defense also allowed Nathan Jackson to run for 61 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Rose was responsible for the Colonels lone touchdown reception.
“Overall, I just think it came down to us not making plays defensively. I think we have to grow up in a hurry,” said Massengill. “We’ve got to figure out what our responsibilities are and how to attack.”
The Yellow Jackets opened the game with a 3-0 lead after settling for a 19-yard field goal from Caleb Heck. Middlesboro gave up the lead after Woods broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run with just under four minutes remaining in the quarter. The extra point gave the Colonels a 7-3 lead.
Chase Elliott used his athleticism to help Middlesboro regain the lead moments later. After being hit in the backfield, he scrambled 66 yards for a touchdown to give the Yellow Jackets a 10-7 lead.
Whitley County found the end zone again behind the legs of Woods. He scored on a 13-yard run to help the Colonels take a 14-10 lead.
Middlesboro had a promising drive cut short due to a turnover on their next possession. After marching down to the 10-yard line, the Jackets turned the ball over on a fumble.
The fumble proved to be detrimental to Middlesboro as Rose caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Woods as a result. The touchdown increased Whitley County’s lead to 20-10 after a missed PAT.
Elliott helped cut into the lead with minutes remaining in the first half. After two plays, he ran 15 yards for the touchdown to make the score 20-17.
The battle of the quarterbacks continued on the ensuing possession. After marching down the field, Woods scored on a quarterback sneak to increase the lead to 26-17.
With just over two minutes remaining in the half, Elliott led the Yellow Jackets down the field. He scored on a run play to cut the lead to 26-25 going into halftime.
Middlesboro would not be able to regain the lead. On the opening drive of the second half, Woods scored on a 1-yard sneak to give Whitley County a 33-25 lead.
Logan Capps helped cut into the lead in the fourth quarter with a touchdown run. In an attempt to tie the game, the Jackets went for the 2-point conversion. The attempt failed leaving Middlesboro trailing 33-31.
The Colonels scored with a 21-yard run by Jackson. Tyler Downs caught a pass to convert the 2-point attempt to increase the lead to 41-31.
Anthony Jackson kept hope alive for Middlesboro on the ensuing kickoff. He returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 41-38.
Woods would be the player to put the nail in the coffin. After five plays, he ran the ball 13 yards for a touchdown to bring the final score to 47-38.
“We kept fighting back,” said Massengill. “We fought down to the last possession.”
On Friday, Middlesboro (0-2) will host crosstown rival Pineville (1-1). Whitley County (1-1) will play at West Jessamine (0-2).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN