The Wayne County Cardinals, 10-1 on the season and coming off a 43-0 opening round win over Louisville Valley, hosted rival Rockcastle County last Friday night at Jewell Field, in the Class 4A Region Three semifinals. Wayne ended the season ranked #1 in Class 4A, while the Rockets were ranked #9 in 4A, 8-3 on the season and coming off a 30-22 win at Louisville Moore. The contest marked the 27th meeting all-time between the two schools with Rockcastle owning a 17-9 series advantage, despite Wayne winning five of the last six meetings, including a 27-0 decision on September 29th, at Jewell Field.
Wayne County used 43 plays of offense to net 336 yards with 12 first
downs and the 5 total touchdowns of 6-1 205 lbs. senior Lorenzo
Linsey to roll to a 38-24 home win. The All-State candidate
completed 13 of 19 passes for 204 yards with scoring strikes of 53,
15 and 8 yards all to Aubrey Weaver, plus rushed 11 times for 81
yards with touchdowns runs of 38 and 6 yards, as the Cards advanced
to the region championship game for the third straight season.
"Offensively we knew that our possessions could be limited if we
didn't get stops, but our guys never panicked and Lorenzo made some
great reads all night, which we've come to expect from him in big
games. He ran the ball very well, which opened things up and Aubrey
made some big-time catches to finish off drives. Defensively we
struggled at times and some of that goes back to our practice on
Wednesday, but we made some big stops and early in the second half.
This gets back in the region championship game, so we're excited to
still be playing football," said Cards head coach Shawn Thompson.
Weaver, a 6-1 175 lbs. junior, added a game high 7 receptions for
158 yards for a season best three scores, while Stetson Simpson added
4 catches for 27 yards. German Ruiz rushed 7 times for 39 yards, as
the winners finished with just one turnover after 11 miscues the past
three games. Senior kicker Riley Woods nailed a 40-yard field goal,
which improves his school record total to 10 on the season. The win
improves the Cards to 11-1 on the season sets up a Region Three
championship matchup at Louisville Western.
"Proud of our guys for winning with class and keeping our composure
late, when it could've been easy to lose our heads. We did a much
better job with ball-security this week and that helped minimize the
time of possession battle. We certainly have work to do, but this is
the grind of the postseason which as a player or coach you have to
love it. We just have to go back to work and keep our focus on a
very good Western team," said Thompson.
Rockcastle County, which dropped to 8-4 and had their season end at
the hands of the Cardinals for the second time in three years, used
64 plays to net 381 yards with 17 first downs. The Rockets misfired
on their only two pass attempts and used three different 100 yard
rushers to make their second meeting of the season much closer.
"We didn't swarm the football as well at times as we needed to, but
Rockcastle has a very strong running game. We had to battle their
size in the trenches and we were arm tackling at times, but our
defense has been lights-out the last half of the season. We just
have to go back to work and get ready for another excellent running
attack in Western," said Thompson.
Senior quarterback Brent Lovell rushed 17 times for 128 yards,
junior running back Jaden Payne netted 22 attempts for 120 yards and
senior fullback Holdan Barnett added 100 yards on 18 carries, which
included a 3 yard scoring plunge.
The Rockets opened the game with the football and used 11 plays to
march 49 yards, but their first of two fumbles stalled the series at
the Wayne 20 yard-line.
The Cards wasted little time on their first possession and marched
76 yards in just 3 plays and scored on a Lorenzo Linsey 53 yard
touchdown pass to Aubrey Weaver. The combo connected for 23 yards
the previous play, as Riley Woods booted the extra point and made the
score 7-0 with 5:52 left in the first period.
Wayne County used a turnover on downs to setup the next score as
Linsey and Weaver capped off an 11 play drive of 67 yards with a 15
yard scoring connection. The kick lifted the score to 14-0 with 9:21
left in the first half.
Rockcastle County would answer with their first score in six
quarters against Wayne's defense as the squad marched 71 yards in 12
plays and scored on a Holdan Barnett 3 yard run. Brent Lovell
completed the conversion pass to Jaden Payne, which made the score
14-8 with 3:42 left in the second period.
The Rockets had a chance to take the lead before the half, after a
blocked punt, but a 7 play drive in the short-field was stopped at
the Wayne 6 yard-line, which left the halftime score at 14-8.
The Cards opened the second half with the football after a failed on-
side kick and Linsey scrambled for 13 yards, which setup a 38 yards
touchdown run, to cap-off a 2 play drive. The kick pushed the lead
to 21-8 with 11:16 left in the third quarter.
After the teams traded punts Wayne County added to their lead on a
46 yard scoring drive, ended with a Linsey 8 yard touchdown pass to
Aubrey Weaver. The Woods kick made the score 28-9 with 4:04 left in
the third period.
Wayne was close to adding to their lead, but a turnover gave the
Rockets momentum which resulted in a 9 play drive of 64 yards, capped
off by an Isaiah Amyx fumble recovery in the end zone. Josh Thacker
added the conversion run to close the gap to 28-16 with 9:08 left in
The teams traded empty possessions, before Linsey notched his fifth
score of the night on a 6 yard run and the kick made the score 35-16
with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Rockcastle managed one more score on the ensuing possession as a
Brent Lovell keeper of 62 yards setup a Josh Thacker 23 yard
touchdown run. The Barnett conversion run, closed the gap to 35-24
with 4:01 left in the contest.
The Cards managed another score after an on-side attempt, as Riley
Woods booted a 40 yard field goal with 1:08 remaining and neither
team would threaten again as Wayne County claimed the 38-24 home win.
A review of the defensive stats credits senior linebacker Clay
Shelton with 15 stops, fellow linebacker Chris Dunagan added 12
tackles, while senior defensive back Lane Turner registered a season
high 11 tackles, Kobe Brumley and Jonah Nieto added fumble
recoveries and a total of 14 players tallied 3 stops or more in the
Next up for Wayne County is a Friday night matchup at Louisville
Western for the Region Three championship. The Warriors are 8-4 on
the season and are coming off an impressive 12-3 semifinals win over
Knox Central. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night and for
complete details of the matchup see related story inside the edition
of The Outlook.