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The Marion County Knights varsity football team hosted Taylor County in their first district game of the season at John J. Boswell field Friday night. Going into the game with two wins and three losses, the Knights were looking to get back to 500 on the season. After a shaky start to the game, Marion County was able to bounce back, playing a solid last three quarters to defeat Taylor County 42-14, taking their record to 3-3 on the season.
The opening quarter began with the Cardinals having the ball and scoring on an eight-yard run just two minutes into the game to give Taylor County an early 7-0 lead. After a penalty on the Knights that nullified an impressive kickoff return of more than 60 yards, the team fumbled the ball just two plays later. Taylor County would capitalize, and score again with 8:42 left in the opening frame to grab a quick 14-0 lead. On the kickoff from the Cardinals, Carlos Litsey would return the ball for an 82-yard touchdown to put the Knights on the board just 15 seconds later. With 8:27 left, the Knights cut the deficit to 14-7. Neither team would be able to score again in the opening frame after the frantic start.
It appeared that the second quarter would be much like the final eight minutes of the first. The first 10 and a half minutes were, until Jeremy Mattingly punched the ball in from two yards out with 1:20 left in the half to tie the score at 14. As the Cardinals received the kickoff from the Knights, a hard shot by Derrick Robey caused a fumble and the Knights recovered on the 28-yard line. A pass from Ryan Peterson to Carlos Litsey on the very next play would be all the Knights needed to take their first lead of the game. The halftime score was 20-14, with the Knights in front.
After the break, Marion County marched down the field and scored on their first drive of the second half. A two-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Mattingly capped off a 60-yard, seven-play drive that included a 32-yard reception and a 14-yard run by Carlos Litsey. A fake extra point gave way to a successful two-point conversion to put the Knights on top by two scores, 28-14, with 9:23 left in the third. After two Cardinal plays, the Knights forced another fumble and recovered it. Five plays and just over two minutes later Marion County would pick up another touchdown on a Cameron Brown five-yard run. With 7:15 remaining in the third period, the Knights were in control 35-14. The Cardinal’s would once again cough the ball up after an impressive punt by freshman Aldo Perez that pinned Taylor County on their own 10-yard line. Cameron Brown would pick up the loose ball and head for the end zone to put the Knights on top 42-14 with 4:13 left in the frame. After an unsuccessful Cardinal drive, the quarter ended with the Knights on top by 28 points.
Two turnovers on downs and three punts later, an uneventful final quarter would end. The Knights were driving as the end of the game drew near, but ran out of time to add more points. The final score was 42-14 in favor of the Knights. This was the first district win for the Knights on the season, and the second defeat of the Cardinals who lost last week to Boyle County, 57-0.
Offensively for the Knights, Jeremy Mattingly had 11 carries for 19 yards and two touchdowns while Austin Turner had 15 carries for 102 yards. Cameron Brown made the most of his six carries for nine yards by scoring one touchdown on the night. Derrick Robey carried the ball three times for 29 yards, Anton Cowherd reeled off 40 yards on three carries, Justin Dawson picked up 10 yards on three carries, Carlos Litsey had one carry for 13 yards, and Ryan Peterson picked up four yards on four carries. Litsey also caught both receptions from Ryan Peterson for 55 yards. Peterson went 2-11 on the night with one touchdown.
Defensive leaders included Clay Smith with nine tackles, Ben Mattingly and Chance Gillespie with seven tackles each, and Nick King with six tackles, three for a loss. Johnathon Hewitt, Cameron Brown, and Justin Dawson each recovered a fumble. Brown’s fumble recovery was for a two-yard touchdown.
The team started slow, but after the first three and a half minutes Marion County dominated the game, according to Coach Robbins.
Marion County will travel to Harrodsburg to face Mercer County Friday night. In the Titans last game, they defeated Nelson County in Bardstown, 40-28, and are 2-4 overall and 0-1 in district play. Coach Robbins said that the Titans are coming off an impressive victory over Nelson County by scoring all 40 points in the second half. Generally, Mercer County is a spread team, but they have also shown the ability to run the football very effectively, Coach Robbins said. 1 2 3 4 - F
Taylor (3-3) 14 0 0 0 - 14
Marion (3-3) 7 13 22 0 - 42