PHELPS, Ky — A lot was accomplished during Phelps’s official home opener of the Charles Poke Wolford Complex, Marty Casey Stadium, and Gaino Stiltner field on Friday night. However, the victory the fans attended to see went to Allen Central (AC) after they defeated the home town Hornets 28-8.
The evening began in touching fashion as the school and county officials made their remarks before the game took place. A heartfelt speech was given by Marty Casey himself, the team’s trainer, as tears puddled in the corner of every fan in attendance, even the visiting fans. Veteran assistant coach Gaino Stiltner was introduced by his loving wife Debbie and Stiltner thanked and reminisced upon his time with the Hornets. To wrap things up Principal Mike Hamilton stated, “We now retire the unofficial PHS theme song: On the road again, and welcome in our new them song Home sweet home.”
The Hornets haven’t played a home game in four years, hopes were through the roof that now the Hornets can start rebuilding a respectable football program. They have all the makings, an new coach, a new field, and a new facility. All that is left is lose the old attitude and personify something better.
The scoreboard showed a 20 point defeat, but to the Hornets, the fans, and the coaches it showed something most couldn’t see. It showed the start to a new beginning.
The Hornets and the Rebels went scoreless throughout the first quarter. The Rebels broke the ice with 8:15 left to play in the second quarter when Steven Howard scampered 15-yards to pay dirt to make the score 6-0. The Rebels got two try’s at a two point conversion due to a false start and was stopped on both attempts.
After the score Allen Central Kicked off and the ball was received by Phelps’s Seth Elkins who ran for a 20-yard gain. Phelps’s QB Garret Clevenger was intercepted on a pass attempt that allowed the Rebels to add another score on an incredibly athletic play by Jesse Brown that finished with a huge four yard dive into the end zone to make the score 12-0 in favor of the Rebels. The two point conversion was unsuccessful.
The rain that has saturated the region during the last week turned the game into a good old fashioned mud bowl complete with fumbles and penalties on almost every series for both teams.
With 1:34 left to play before halftime Allen Central scored once more when Allen May caught one in the corner of the end zone. The two point conversion was good and the Rebels improved their lead to 20-0.
At halftime a ceremony was had to retire the jersey of Christopher Hardin who played for the Hornets during the early 2000’s and continued playing at Georgetown College afterwards. Hardin passed away during the winter of last year but his memory will live on above the field from now on.
Since the Rebels won the coin toss at the beginning of the game and chose to defer until halftime it was their turn to receive the ball. During the next drive they had a big 20-yard rushing gain called back due to holding which ultimately turned into a fumble that was recovered by the Hornets.
The ball changed possession back and forth with no score until 5:32 left to play in the fourth quarter when brown crossed the line again for Allen Central and a two point conversion was added to make the score 28-0 in favor of AC.
The Hornets can be given credit for playing all four quarters and never giving up. With 48 seconds left to play in the game Tyson White broke away for a huge 79-yard run from AC’s 20-yard line to Phelps’s own 1-yard line. However, the run was called back because of a holding penalty to the spot of the foul which was the Hornets 40-yard line.
QB Clevenger scrambled loose and gained another 19-yards on a run to set the Hornets up near the goal line. With 30.2 seconds left in the game Clevenger slung one into the end zone and it was brought down by Christian Mounts for the Hornets lone score on the night. Brandon Turnmire caught the two point conversion and the Hornets added eight points to the board before the buzzer sounded.
Head Coach David Jones said, ” Our biggest positive tonight was that we didn’t quit. We are taking this whole thing day by day and that was big for us. We played all four quarters as hard as we could and we needed to do that. On the other side we see a lot of things we will have to work on. Basically we are going to have to work on everything, but I can’t coach effort, they have to have that in their heart and they showed tonight that they have that. The rest can be coached.”
The Hornets night wasn’t as great as they had hoped but 159-yards of total offense with 121 rushing yards is a big improvement from last season.
On the defensive side of the ball Ronald Prater finished the game with a stout 17 tackles, with assists included. Dylan New finished with 13, Lawrence Mayhorn 8, Elkins 8, and Kinser Dotson had 6. On the offensive side of the ball Peyton Rife led the team in rushing with 51-yards, White had 45-yards and Clevenger had 45- yards as well. Clevenger finished the night with three interceptions and one TD pass with one extra point pass.
The Hornets are not where they want to be but they sure aren’t where they used to be. Next week the Hornets will travel to CAM Stadium to face East Ridge in the Pike County Bowl.
Scores by quarter:
AC: 0 20 8 0 – 28
P: 0 0 0 8 – 8
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] on on twitter @sidplaster.)