STEARNS, Ky. — Scott High exploded into the 2013 campaign here Friday, dominating every phase of the game in a 61-0 win over McCreary Central.
The Highlanders, facing their northern neighbor for the first time since 1994, scored six touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the game to jump-start a continuously running clock and tied the largest margin of victory in school history.
Scott’s offense started in McCreary Central territory on eight of its nine possessions and never failed to score, while the defense forced five turnovers — four of them fumbles — and gave up only 42 yards of total offense to the Raiders.
“We felt pretty good coming up here that our kids were going to do what they were supposed to do,” Scott coach Keith Shannon said. “Obviously we’re very excited about what we saw from our kids. I’m proud of them.”
In a game that was over almost as soon as it had gotten started, Scott needed just two plays and 27 seconds to get on the scoreboard, using a 27-yard pass from senior quarterback Jake Phillips to junior wideout Mark Karluah to set up a 23-yard touchdown run by junior tailback Jonathan Hamblin.
An interception by James Kries set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Phillips to Dusty Hayes just 90 seconds later, and the rout was on.
McCreary Central managed only a handful of first downs and was able to move into Scott territory on only one possession, as the Highlanders maintained their intensity and execution despite shuttling many players in and out of the game as the evening progressed.
“All of our kids on the sideline, it didn’t matter if it was a senior playing, the freshmen were watching them, and when the freshmen were out there, the seniors were standing as close as they could legally stand to watch them as well,” Shannon said.
The Highlanders’ third touchdown came on a 14-yard end around by Karluah after a Phillips-to-Austin Stephens pass set up the score.
Six seconds later, Scott was on the board again, when Caleb Sexton scooped up a fumble and returned it 27 yards for a score.
When the Highlanders’s defenders were not forcing turnovers, they were generally making life miserable for McCreary County’s ballcarriers. Twelve of
McCreary Central’s 33 rushing attempts were stopped in the backfield, and five more were stopped at the line of scrimmage.
“Our defense came out pursuing to the football,” defensive coordinator Broderick Gillespie said. “We lined up right, we did all the small things right, and that really helped us.”
On the play after Sexton’s scoop-and-score, McCreary County turned the ball over again, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Phillips two plays later.
McCreary County then turned the ball over on downs, leading to Scott’s final score of the opening period, a 20-yard run by Justin King with 1:48 left on the clock.
With the clock running non-stop under Kentucky’s mercy rule, the rest of the game progressed rapidly as the Highlanders turned to their reserves and, later, freshmen and JV players.
A fumble recovery by Malaki Hamblin in the second quarter set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by freshman Hayden Byrge.
The Highlanders consumed most of the third quarter clock with a drive that covered 34 yards in nine plays, with Byrge scoring on a 6-yard run.
The Highlanders would add one more score in the final period: an 18-yard keeper by backup quarterback Aaron Carson after he recovered a fumble at the McCreary Central 37-yard-line.
The 61 points marked the most scored by a Scott team since a 68-8 win over Jellico in 1999.
“I’m excited to see our kids excited,” Shannon said. “We know that we have some tough sledding ahead, but we’ll take a win tonight.