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Grizzlies win regional championship

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By J.T. Bass

History was made on Tuesday night as the Spencer County Middle School Grizzly Football team became the first to win a football championship in our county’s brief football history. The Grizzlies defeated the Old Kentucky Home Middle School Wildcats from Nelson County 29-0 to win the Mid-Kentucky Athletic Conference Division I Championship. OKH had won the MKAC Championship the last three years in a row with their win in 2006 coming over Spencer County in the championship game.

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With the support of a huge home crowd of parents, family members, the SCMS band, cheerleaders, and dance team, along with dozens of former Grizzly Football players now at the high school, Spencer County was able to overpower OKH from the beginning until the end.

The game began with OKH taking the opening kickoff. The Wildcats seemed determined to run the ball behind their big fullback Reed Montgomery on the first series. Montgomery was able to gain a first down behind some hard running and some holes that OKH was able to open up in the middle of the Grizzly defense. However, the Grizzlies would stand tall when on a fourth and less than a yard to go play, linebacker Will Eldridge broke into the backfield and stopped OKH’s tailback Khalil Bourne.

 The Spencer County offense would move the ball right down the field and see their first touchdown on the night come from Eldridge as he broke through most of the Wildcat defense from 18 yards out. Kicker Cody Buckman was successful on the PAT to put the Grizzlies ahead 8-0 early in the first quarter.

 Old Kentucky Home would again start off with some success on their next drive, pushing close to midfield on several plays. On second and eight, Spencer County’s Will Edwards was able to step up from his spot at cornerback and strip the ball away from Bourne giving the ball at their own 45 yard line.

 

Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, three consecutive incomplete passes would force them to punt. With momentum hanging in the balance, OKH was able to drive into Spencer County territory. The Grizzly defense was able to stop the Wildcats once again on a fourth down and four to take over possession. This time, SCMS would get a payoff in form of their second touchdown. With the Wildcats keying on Eldridge, Spencer County’s other tailback Cody Chesser was able to break a tackle in the backfield and sprint 67 yards down the home sideline for the score. Buckman’s kick would once again be true and the Grizzlies would take a 16-0 lead into halftime.

 

Old Kentucky Home attempted an onsides kick to start the second half, but Spencer County’s Gage Mertz was prepared and covered it perfectly at the 48 yard line.

 

The Grizzlies would find themselves punting once again after several missed plays and a penalty. The Wildcats seemed poised to get back into the game - that would all change on the next play. The Wildcats attempted a trick play, but Eldridge was able to sniff it out and tackle Bourne for a loss. On the next play, defensive tackle William Currie found his way into the backfield for a sack of his own. After a gain on 3rd down, and faced with another fourth down situation, the Grizzlies would tackle Montgomery at the OKH 35 yard line for yet another big stop setting themselves up in their best field position of the night.

 

Spencer County moved the ball well behind the outstanding blocking of their offensive line. Fullback Dalton Goodlett would find paydirt from 13 yards out as he broke through a big hole on the left side. On the PAT, a high snap would force quarterback Trent Holbrook to sprint to his right and find his tight end Bridger Knotts in the back corner of the end zone for the one point score. This brought the score to 23-0, SCMS.

 

On the ensuing kickoff, OKH would find themselves deep in their own territory once again after a nice return was brought back on a penalty. On their first play, Bourne would catch a pass and be hit immediately by Eldridge for a short gain. Another big play for the Grizzlies came when Spencer County’s Brett Goodlett was able to sack Bourne as he tried to throw a halfback pass. The Wildcats would be forced to punt and the Grizzlies would set up at the OKH 35 once more.

 

The final score of the night came when Chesser was able to spring around the left side on a 10 yard sweep. Fullback D. Goodlett had a paving block on the play and the Grizzlies could smell the win by now.

 

The Wildcats’ final drive of the night would be stopped again on fourth down, turning the ball back over to the Grizzlies around midfield. Spencer County inserted it’s B-team so they too could enjoy playing in the championship game. Behind the hard running of Zack Smith, Michael Fowler, Trenton Bryant, and Kynan Smith, the Grizzlies were able to gain a first down and wind the clock down.

 

With less than a minute to play, Spencer County put the A-team back onto the field to symbolically take a final knee and run out the clock making them the 2008 MKAC Champions.

 

With this win, Spencer County Middle is 11-3 overall and a perfect 9-0 in conference. The win also qualifies SCMS as one of only 8 teams in the state to play in the first ever state middle school playoffs.

 

The Grizzlies will now face the Bluegrass Middle School Colts from Radcliffe, KY. The Colts won their conference championship also. The game will be held on Wednesday, October 22nd at John Hardin High School. Game time is 7:00PM. The KYMSFA state championship game will be held on November 1st at Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington. For more information, go to www.kymiddleschoolfootball.com.

 

Outstanding players for Spencer County – Will Eldridge (rushed 8 times for 90 yards, 1 TD, 13 tackles, 2 sacks, Co-HIT OF THE GAME), Cody Chesser (rushed 6 times for 100 yards, 2 TDs, 1 sack, 6 tackles), Trent Holbrook (2-6 passing for 4 yards, 1 PAT pass), Dalton Goodlett (rushed 4 times for 29 yards, 1 TD, 10 tackles, Co-HIT OF THE GAME), Bridger Knotts (1 reception for 3 yards, 1 PAT), Cody Buckman (2-3 PAT kicks), Will Edwards (1 fumble caused), Chase Smith (1 sack, 5 tackles), Brett Goodlett (2 sacks, 6 tackles), Trenton Bryant (rushed 2 times for 10 yards, 2 tackles), Chris Dunbar, Cody Russell, Gage Mertz, Michael Fowler (rushed 1 time for 5 yards, 7 tackles), Zack Smith (rushed 1 time for 6 yards), Wesley Cox (4 tackles), Dalton Smith, Jacob Lashley, Tyler Eldridge, Lee-Jared Miles, William Currie (1 sack), Gage Daniels, and Donnie Druin.