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As hard as they tried, the Grant County High School football team couldn’t ruin two homecomings in a row.
On Oct. 3, the Braves dampened Scott High School’s homecoming festivities by beating them 26-20. They tried to do the same thing against Oldham County on Oct. 10, but came away with a 49-22 loss.
“It boiled down to not making mistakes against a good football team and expecting to win,” coach Mike Davis said. “But even though we were down, we didn’t quit. We came back in the second half and made a fight of it.”
The Braves were down early against Oldham, giving up touchdowns on the Colonel’s first two drives. Oldham County moved the ball down the field on the first drive, using nine plays to go 83 yards, with running back Dy’Lan Underwood punching it in from the one-yard line.
The Braves tried to answer, but Oldham County forced a fumble when GCHS quarterback Joe Soden was hit from his blindside while looking for an open receiver. The Colonels only had to go 34 yards and ended the drive with a touchdown when quarterback Chad Dennis hit Chase Hamby with a 30-yard pass.
The Braves looked to take the momentum when an interception by Justin Mertz led to a touchdown run by Rex Benson that cut the lead to 14-6, but Oldham County scored twice more before the half to make it 28-6.
After halftime, the Colonels kept moving the ball well, scoring on their opening drive to push the score to 35-6. They scored twice more to make it 49-6 before Grant County added two late touchdowns. Soden found Mertz for a touchdown and Terrell Spray connected to Tyler Haar for the final points of the game.
“Offensively, we moved the ball at times, but we did some things to put ourselves in a bad position,” Davis said. “Penalties hurt some drives and we didn’t execute the way our game plan was set up. Defensively, we knew what they were going to do, we just didn’t execute. Screens and big plays on third down kept us off guard and we didn’t tackle well. They have some good athletes that made us miss a lot of tackles. But we have to move on. Hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes and go back to the fundamentals. We need to protect the quarterback and not tackle with our arms. We have helmets and shoulder pads for a reason.”
“We had too many mistakes,” Josh Rump said. “When things didn’t go our way, we dropped our heads instead of fighting like we usually do. But it’s not as bad as it could be. We can’t host a playoff game, but we can still reach several of our goals.”
“It was a must-win game,” Spray said. “We just didn’t play as well as we should have. They are a good football team and we can’t make mistakes. We put ourselves in a hole.”
“There’s nothing we can do about it now,” Benson said. “We just need to get back on track.”
The Braves host Ludlow High School at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 and hope to win in front of a crowd that will be there for Chamber of Commerce Night and Grant County Student Body Night, where all students get in free with a Grant County ID.
“Ludlow is a small school, but they have a lot of fight in them,” Davis said. “They have some explosive running backs, but it’s a game where if we play Braves football, we should be able to take care of business. We want to pack the stands. It was nice to see a community event at Oldham County and that’s what we’d like to see here. We want to get the community involved in Grant County football.”
“We’ll have to work on tackling in practice,” Rump said. “We need to make sure we play solid defense.”
“We have to come out and be ready to play,” Benson said. “We expect a packed house and we want to play well for them.”
(Mickey Patterson, the sports editor at the Oldham Era, contributed to this article.)