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After a disappointing loss to Shelby County last week, the Spencer County Bears righted their ship Friday night in their first home game of the season with a 42-0 trouncing of LaRue County. While the victory was important, it was the improvement Coach Mike Marksbury saw from his squad that was most welcoming.
One area of concern last week was the play of the offensive line, which struggled last week to produce success from the Bears’ trademark running game. On Friday, they toughened up.
“We got back to what we do,” said Marksbury. “You have to be physical to run the football and it’s something I believe in and our kids heard about our inability to run the ball last week. The line play was definitely improved from the previous week and we played several offensive linemen and they put forth a lot of effort.” He said the challenge now will be following that effort up again this week.
Spencer County racked up 344 rushing yards on Friday night, paced by sophomore Logan Holbrook’s 181-yard effort that included three touchdowns. It was Holbrook’s night all around Friday as he opened the scoring for Spencer County with a 50-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ first drive. Derek Clemens connected on the PAT and Spencer jumped ahead 7-0.
LaRue County was able to move the ball pretty well in the first quarter, but the Bears soon clamped down and kept the Hawks in check most of the night. Marksbury said he made a lot of changes up front defensively and after a sluggish start, the guys dug in and played well.
‘We went with an entirely new defensive line, trying to keep our kids fresh. All of those guys up front were making their first varsity start and it took them a few plays to get their feet under them. I thought our kids were extremely tired in the fourth quarter last week at Shelby County, so we made some adjustments to keep our linemen fresh.”
The strategy worked and for the game, the Hawks had just 153 yards of total offense.
Spencer County’s defense didn’t just stop LaRue County, they scored on them as well, as Holbrook returned an interception some 70 plus yards for a touchdown for the game’s second touchdown early in the second quarter. Clemens kick was good and the Bears were up 14-0. From there, the game was never in doubt. Later in the quarter, Holbrook would score on a 27-yard run for a 21-0 lead and just before half-time, sophomore quarterback Jacob DeRudder found Brandon Leff open in the end zone for a touchdown pass and the Bears held a commanding 28-0.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter following a couple of LaRue County drives that went nowhere. Spencer County would score on a two-yard run by Holbrook to go up 35-0, then seconds later, Matt Foust recovered a fumbled kickoff and William Morrow would score on a 35-yard run to put the Bears up 42-0. With the clock now running non-stop according to KHSAA rules with a 40-point lead, the Bears were able to spend the fourth quarter running the ball and the clock to preserve the win.
“It was a good game all the way around,” said Marksbury. “We still have a way to go in all areas, but I think we made improvements this week.”
While concentrating on the run this week, the Bears only attempted four passes on the night, and that was partly due to DeRudder missing some practice time early in the week due to a hand injury suffered last Friday. His throwing arm wasn’t needed much Friday, but may be counted on for more production this Friday as the Bears take on Bullitt East in Mt. Washington.
The Chargers are 3-0 and averaging over 40 points a game early in the season. They also may remember the 27-0 whipping they suffered from the Bears last year.
“I’m sure we will get their best effort. That win last year is probably the one that opened a lot of people’s eyes about our program, and we can’t sneak up on anyone anymore. They are undefeated and I am sure it will be a great environment for football and I am excited to see how far we have come. We have a tough three-week game stretch that will go a long way in determining how we will set up for the playoffs, but these are the type of games you want to play and coach in.”
For the fans, it may also be interesting to see which Bear will have a standout game this week. During the first three games, a different Bear has grabbed the spotlight. In week one, Shawn Boykin had three carries for 144 yards and two scores and also added a long touchdown reception. In week two, Kynan Smith scored two receiving touchdowns and added another on a interception return. On Friday, it was Holbrook who had four total touchdowns and for the season, the sophomore now has eight touchdowns, including six rushing scores, one interception return and one kickoff return.