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It wasn’t a traditional homecoming game, but it was a winning night.
Because of a sloppy field, the Grant County High School football team travelled to Bourbon County on Oct. 2.
The Braves put together a dominant second half to earn a 17-14 win.
“It wasn’t picture perfect, but it was a win and our players should be proud because we challenged them at halftime to come out and play Grant County football,” coach Mike Davis said. “We got after it on defense and managed the ball on offense. We’re not being effective yet on offense, but we showed a lot of heart, desire and courage.”
“We executed in practice and it translated to the game,” senior Alan Workman said. “We had a couple of bad weeks, so this feels good.”
The Braves started the game with the ball as freshman Tyler Robinson took the opening kickoff to Bourbon County’s 24-yard line, but turned the ball over on down’s after being unable to move the ball on offense.
Grant County’s defense held strong on Bourbon’s first possession after allowing the Colonels to move the ball down the field with their running game. On fourth down, the Braves stopped a Bourbon County running play to get the ball back.
The Braves turned the ball over with a fumble and the defense continued to be dominant, forcing a turnover on downs on the Colonels ensuing possession.
After a three and out for the Braves’ offense, Bourbon County took advantage, breaking off big chunks of yardage with their running game before scoring with three minutes left in the first half to take a 7-0 lead.
The Braves marched down the field before turning the ball over for the second time in the first half with an interception inside Bourbon County’s 20-yard line to end the second quarter.
When the second half started, the Braves were hungry to make up for their performance in the first half. They started the third quarter by forcing a fumble on Bourbon County’s kickoff return as freshman Dustin Haar recovered the ball.
“We stayed in our lanes and made something happen,” Davis said.
Grant County answered with a field goal by junior Preston Cahill to get on the scoreboard and make it 7-3.
Bourbon County was forced to punt on their next drive and senior Nick Foster made a play by blocking the punt and returning it for a touchdown to put the Braves ahead 10-7.
“We thought we could take advantage when they punted the ball from watching film all week long,” Davis said. “It was a huge momentum shift in the game because they started to drop their heads a little bit.”
The Colonels responded by taking the ensuing kickoff to Grant County’s 25-yard line, but a high snap forced a poor exchange between the quarterback and running back as the ball hit the ground. Senior Tyler Willougby recovered the ball for the Braves.
Workman broke off a 53-yard run on the Braves’ next possession for a touchdown to put the Braves ahead 17-7.
“All it took was one good block and Josh Mason had a beautiful block,” Workman said. “It was all green grass from there.”
“We saw that they had an aggressive defensive tackle and Alan shot out of it like he was shot out of a cannon after an excellent block from Josh Mason,” Davis said. “Alan is a tailback playing fullback and he makes his touches counts. We feel like he runs the ball hard every time and he’s hard to bring down.”
Bourbon County converted three third downs on their next drive before facing first and goal on Grant County’s six-yard line. After a false start moved them back five yards, the Colonels rushed the ball four straight times, but Grant County’s defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
Following a Grant County punt, Bourbon County started on Grant County’s 25-yard line and scored on a quarterback keeper to make it 17-14 with seven minutes left.
The Colonels turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, but had one last chance to tie or take the lead on their final possession. Senior Randy Salyers ended any hope they had when he intercepted the ball to preserve the 17-14 win.
This was the first game back for senior Tyler Sheffield who has been out with a shoulder injury since the season opener against Owen County.
“It feels awesome to be back playing,” Sheffield said. “We’re a young team and one more senior leader does a lot for this team. We have to put two good halves together.”
Up next, the Braves travel to South Oldham Oct. 9 for the team’s second district game of the season as they work to get back into the playoffs.