Western Hills head coach Don Miller said the Wolverine football team must find a way to “put two halves together.”
WHHS (0-4) scored all of its points in the first half, but didn’t enter the end zone for the remainder of the night Friday at home against Owen County. Meanwhile the Rebels added 28 points in the second half to win 49-20.
“We got to do a better job,” Miller said of the Wolverines’ fourth consecutive loss. “I thought we did a better job this week than we did last week. I wasn’t impressed with the way we played last week, but at least this week we played well for a full half and now it comes down to putting two halves together.”
In the first quarter, both teams went scoreless. But in the second, Wolverines’ senior Ethan Cox grabbed the first touchdown of the game on a 40-yard run with 10:28 remaining in the half.
Two minutes later OCHS (2-2) responded on its next drive, scoring off of 4-yard run by Paul Banks and tying the game 7-7. On the Rebels’ kick off, WHHS senior Casey McLean had an explosive run-back for the touchdown.
McLean was allowed only a few seconds to catch his breath before adding the extra point kick to the scoreboard as well. WHHS led 14-7 only briefly, before the Rebels answered back tying the game once again.
“Casey has done a good job,” Miller said. “Our O-line does a great job giving him the openings to run the ball. Casey runs the ball hard and fast, but we just got to execute offensively and defensively.”
Two possessions later and McLean reached the end zone again. The senior caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Young with 3:10 left in the half. This time McLean wasn’t able to add a successful extra point with a low kick. But that would be the last scoring drive for the Wolverines, while OCHS took the lead 21-20 with only seconds left in the half.
“In the first half, we gave up some big plays that really hurt us,” Miller said. “Even with that, we came out and didn’t execute in the second half.”
Owen County would add 28 points in the second half, while the Wolverines’ offense struggled to convert on third downs. On the defensive side, Zach Hart stopped a potential touchdown and then tackled the Rebels’ quarterback for a loss in the third quarter. But without a total-team effort, OCHS scored again.
The close first half against the Rebels reaffirmed to Miller how displeased he was with how his team played against Grant County last week. OCHS beat Grant County by 30 points and Miller said seeing that the Wolverines were well-matched with OCHS for the majority of the game, he felt like his team shouldn’t have lost to Grant County 44-20.
“We only have 33 players and seven of them are injured, then we’re down to 26 players and the majority of those are freshmen and sophomores,” Miller said. “It is just one of those things, where we are not going to make excuses and we’re going to keep on playing. It is like I keep telling them, we are one step away from something happening here.
“The biggest thing is we get better going into the district play.”
WHHS has only two weeks before its first district opponent, Bourbon County, on Sept. 21. The team first has to face Frankfort High this Friday.
“I know they are going to be ready,” Miller said of FHS. “We are going to have to come in and make good tackles, make good open field tackles. They’ve got just as much speed as Franklin County does. That’s one of those things where we have to make sure we make the tackles.”