Bell's big play saves the day

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By Jesse Osbourne

On third and 15 with the clock winding down, all senior quarterback Eric Miles could do was heave the ball. So he did.

Lucky for him, it thudded right into the chest of Bryson Bell.

Miles' pass from 43 yards out couldn't have hit the junior wide receiver more perfect as the playmaker catapulted above a sea of white jerseys to catch the ball and wrestle it away from an Anderson County defender.

Bell's eyes were on the officials as he came down. After a long pause, Bell and the Knights got the call they needed. Touchdown Knights. Seven seconds to go.

The student section erupted as the Knights pulled ahead 42-39 after leading 35-17 in the third quarter. Time ran out on Anderson County (6-3) as Bell broke up a Hail Mary pass on the last play for the Bearcats.

Marion County (7-2) narrowly escaped their 5A foe after threatening to blow out the Bearcats.

Anderson's junior quarterback phenom Jacob Russell and the Bearcats slowly chipped away at the Knights' 18 point lead, one pass over the middle at a time.

Russell, who has been recruited by Florida, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville, according to Knights' Head Coach Jeff Robbins, shredded the Knights defense for 322 yards through the air.

In the two games prior to Friday night, the "Maroon Curtain" defense allowed only eight yards combined through the air.

Robbins said he credits Russell's ability and fatigue on the defense for the Bearcats offensive explosion against the Knights.

Robbins said the Bearcats ran a total of 68 offensive plays against the Knights, 24 of which came in the fourth quarter. Robbins said an average game consists of 50 offensive plays.

"I think it was a big factor in their comeback," he said. "And no lead is safe with Russell."

Robbins had nothing but good to say about Russell.

"I've coached against Tim Couch and I wasn't as impressed with him as I am with Russell," he said.

While the Bearcats' offense looked good in the fourth quarter, the Knights' offense ignited yet again.

The Knights offense has been on fire over the last four games. In that stretch, Marion County has averaged 41.5 points per game. In the five games prior to that, the Knights only averaged 20.2 points per game.

Robbins said it was one of the most, if not the most, efficient games the offense has played this season.

Playmakers stepped up all over the field Friday night for the Knights offense. Bell, who caught the game-winning touchdown, had two other TD receptions. One came from Miles to put the Knights ahead 14-7. Another came from his brother Jordan Bell on a 31-yard pass down the Bearcats' sidelines.

Speaking of brother Bell, the tiny sophomore had another standout game, rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, Bell rushed for 99 yards on only six carries.

Robbins said Bell's total of 183 rushing is the second highest total in a game in the last five years since Robbins has been coaching. The first highest total belongs to Elliott Hazelwood, who rushed for 220 against Pulaski County in 2006.

Jordan's touchdowns came on a long run in the third quarter and on an 88-yard scamper on the opening drive in the first quarter.

Robbins said Bell and sophomore Buster Hazelwood stepped up to fill holes in the rushing game this week. Touchdown and rushing leader junior Dylan Peterson didn't carry the ball this week as he is still trying to get used to wearing a cast. Peterson injured his hand on a touchdown run against North Bullitt two weeks ago.

Hazelwood scored his first varsity touchdown on a 60-yard scamper that showcased his speed and juking ability.

Robbins stable of thoroughbreds remains strong after this season, as the players he loses account for only 626 of the 2,328 yards his backs have accumulated so far this season. Three of his top five rushers return for another round next year. Robbins said he was pleased that all players that scored points Friday night will be coming back next season.

Robbins said Miles was a few inches away from having a 250 to 300 yard passing game, coming up just short on some long passes.

Robbins also said the defense played a very physical game, which the unit takes pride in.

The "Maroon Curtain" held Anderson County's leading rusher, B.J. Robinson, to only 17 yards on the ground. Robbins said Robinson averages 100 yards per game.

Robbins said the Bearcats average 260 yards rushing a game. The Knights held them to 95 yards.

Overall, Robbins said he would have preferred the game not be so close. But the coach said he was very pleased that his team remained calm on the sidelines after the Knights went down 39-35 with a 1:43 remaining.

"Eric Miles did a super job of leading the offense on that last drive," Robbins said.

The Knights finish their regular season on the road against Green County on Friday night. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.


First Quarter

Marion County - Jordan Bell 88 yard run (Mark Corbett kick), 7-0.

Anderson County - Robinson blocked punt return for 24 yards (Williams kick), 7-7.

Second Quarter

Marion County - Bryson Bell 15 yard pass from Eric Miles (Corbett kick), 14-7.

Anderson County - Alves 8 yard pass from Russell (Williams kick), 14-14.

Marion County - Bryson Bell 31 yard pass from Jordan Bell (Corbett kick), 21-14.

Anderson County - FG to end the half, 21-17.

Third Quarter

Marion County - Jordan Bell long run (Corbett kick), 28-17.

Marion County - Buster Hazelwood 60 yard run (Corbett kick), 35-17.

Fourth Quarter

Anderson County - Harvey 3 yard run (Russell run), 35-25.

Anderson County - Cox 21 yard pass from Russell (Williams kick), 35-32.

Anderson County - Combs 33 yard pass from Russell (Williams kick), 39-35.

Marion County - Bryson Bell 43 yard pass from Miles (Corbett kick), 42-39.


Total rushing yards - 281

Total passing yards - 114

Total rushing yards allowed - 95

Total passing yards allowed - 322



RUSHING (attempts -yards-touchdowns) - Jordan Bell 14-183-2, T.J. Jones 2-18-0, Jacob Tabor 3-6-0, Buster Hazelwood 8-88-1, Eric Miles 6 - minus 16-0, David Litsey 2-2-0.

PASSING (attempts-completions-touchdowns-yards) - Jordan Bell 1-1-1-31, Eric Miles 5-15-2-83.

RECEIVING (catches - yards - touchdowns) - Bryson Bell 4-91-3, Trey Hamilton 1-9-0, Jacob Tabor 1-14-0.  


INTERCEPTIONS (interceptions-return yards-touchdowns)- David Litsey 1-43-0.

FUMBLE RECOVERY (recoveries-net yards-touchdowns)- Dylan Peterson 1-2-0.

TACKLES (assisted-solo)- Chris Means 1-8, Dustin Crane 0-4, Wes Stayton 0-2, Jacob Tabor 2-5, Derrick Mattingly 0-2, Robbie Burch 2-2, T.J. Jones 4-10, Dylan Peterson 2-7, David Litsey 4-3, Trey Hamilton 0-3, Valis Mudd 4-6, Bryson Bell 3-1, Eric Miles 3-10.


Coming up Friday night for MCHS Football Head Coach Jeff Robbins and the Knights is 2A rival Green County.

Robbins said he expects a physical game against the Dragons who pride themselves on aggressive defense, just as the Knights do.

"On offense, we'll be mirror images of each other," Robbins said.

Robbins said Green County likes to run a lot of counter treys and options but tend to use more formations than the Knights do.

Robbins said Green County likes play out of a 4-4 defense but last year showed a variation of what he calls a "cougar" defense. Green County also runs a 5-3 defense and a 6-2.

Green County is 8-1 on the season, coming off a 32-27 loss to Monroe County on Oct. 24.

Robbins said the team is without leading rusher Zeth Rogers, who was injured in the fourth quarter of Green County's game against Christian Academy in Louisville on Oct. 17. Green County won that game 35-0.

Rogers, who accumulated 1200 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, is done for the season. Rogers was also Green County's leading receiver. The Dragons are 0-1 without Rogers. Before losing him, they were 8-0.

With Rogers out, Robbins said quarterback Justin Pendleton becomes the Dragons' next big offensive threat.

Pendleton has thrown for over 500 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He's thrown five picks so far this season.

More impressively, he has rushed for over 1100 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Robbins said the "Maroon Curtain" will also focus on junior fullback Ricky Garrett and freshman tailback Donovan Burton, who replaced Rogers. Burton rushed for 70 yards on 10 carries against Monroe County two weeks ago.

Last year Green County embarrassed the Knights at home, winning 35-6 at John J. Boswell Field.

Robbins said each player received a DVD of that game to take home and watch, hopefully opening a raw wound and motivating his squad.

Robbins said he hopes for a huge crowd to follow the Knights to Green County.

While the game has no playoff implications, Robbins said the winner will carry a distinct momentum swing into the playoffs.

Kick off for the Green County game is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.

The Knights play Fairdale at Fairdale in the 4A playoffs the following week. Check next week's edition for a scouting report on the game.