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The Marion County High School football team headed to Campbellsville University Friday evening to play in the Forcht Bank Bowl for the second straight year. After falling to Russell County 48-21 last year in the same season opening game, the Knights didn't improve any and fell to Evansville Central Bears from Indiana by a final score of 55-16. All 16 of the Knights points came in the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach.
After being forced to punt on their first possession, the Knights gave up a rushing touchdown to the Bears and trailed 6-0 seven minutes into the game. On Marion County's next possession, a bad snap led to a recovery by the Bears in the end zone and allowed them to take a 14-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion just over a minute after their previous score. Evansville Central would add on another score as time expired in the opening quarter to make the score 20-0.
A turnover by the Knights led to a recovery by the Bears and another score four minutes into the second quarter to make the score 28-0 after another two-point conversion. After forcing a Bear punt, the Knights muffed the punt and Evansville Central recovered the ball and proceeded to score once again at the 4:57 mark of the second quarter to make the score 35-0. The first half mercifully ended as Evansville Central missed a field goal attempt as time expired.
Another Marion County fumble led to a rushing touchdown by the Bears who took a 42-0 lead at the 7:08 mark in the third quarter. After intercepting a Knight pass, the Bears once again found the end zone but missed the extra point to lead 48-0 with 1:47 left in the third period.
The Knights finally found the end zone when sophomore quarterback Hayden Taylor connected with sophomore Lincoln Hayden on a touchdown pass with 8:47 to go in the game. A successful two-point conversion left the Knights trailing 48-8. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears returned the ball for a score to push the lead back to 55-8. With 3:13 showing on the clock, Taylor once again connected on a touchdown pass. This time he found junior Justin Dawson for the score. Another two point conversion made the score 55-16. With the Bears driving, the clock finally ran out, and the Knights ended up with 39-point loss.
Head Coach Jeff Robbins noted several areas that the team must improve on.
"Poor ball security led to five turnovers," he said. "We played selfish football and we didn't block for each other. We looked once again like the young team we are."
Hayden Taylor passed for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Lincoln Hayden was on the receiving end of one of those touchdown passes for 26 yards and Justin Dawson caught the other for a 54-yard score. Enrico Floyd led the way with nine tackles. Evansville Central ran 57 total plays to just 36 for the Knights.
"We have to get better for Green County," Robbins said. "They are a big, strong, and physical team capable of blowing us out."
The Knights will take on Green County on Saturday night in the 2012 Heart of Kentucky Pigskin Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.