Western Hills football team’s season will end after the regular season if the Wolverines can’t come up with one more win this week.
A 48-0 loss against Garrard County Friday at home forces the Wolverines (1-8, 1-3) to win their next game against Powell County or say good-bye to making the playoffs.
“Obviously, we don’t like the record,” WHHS head coach Don Miller said. “But at the same time, we have a lot of young guys getting a lot, a lot of reps. I told them we still have a shot. We go play at Powell County and if we get a win there, we get into the playoffs. That’s my main concern right now is to get that one done.”
Miller told his team after the loss to move past it and focus on this week.
“If you win it, you are in. If you don’t, you are done,” he said matter of factly to his squad of 35 players — 23 of whom are either freshmen or sophomores.
WHHS won its first game of the season the week before at district opponent Estill County 47-35 and the coach said it gave them confidence going into play Garrard County. But Miller said bluntly, the Golden Lions are really good.
“They played Bourbon County, who are No. 1 in our district, down to a T,” he said. “They’re a really solid football team, sound offensively and defensively. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. I thought we played pretty well, but then we gave up that long pass right there at the end. I thought going into halftime, it should have been 16 to 7.”
The Wolverines started the game on the right track, stopping a driving GCHS on 4th-down and three.
“We ended up getting a big stop right there and got the momentum,” Miller said.
But when the Wolverine offense took over at its own 20-yard line it couldn’t produce, unlike GCHS which scored on its next possession. Freshman Slade Crutchfield broke a tackle for a 15-yard touchdown run. Senior Garrett Caudill ran the ball in on the two-point conversion, giving the Golden Lions an 8-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
With the ball back to WHHS, sophomore Nick Lockett and senior Casey McLean got the ground game going for the Wolverines. But when the drive stalled at fourth and 14, sophomore quarterback Nick Young threw an interception to freshman Jalen McPherson with 34.7 seconds left in the quarter.
“We’ve got to do a better job of making sure we are staying on our blocks and get better runs,” Miller said.
In the second quarter, senior quarterback Billy Abney tossed the ball to fellow GCHS senior Lane Cumby for a 41-yard touchdown on fourth and 2. Caudill went in on a run for the two-point conversion. GCHS led 16-0.
The Wolverines punted on their next three possessions after seeing Lockett limp out of the game. The sophomore was injured in the first game of the season against Woodford County when he tore his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Miller said he did not know if Lockett reaggravated the previous injury, but said he saw him come down hard on his knee.
Meanwhile, the Golden Lions wasted no time with the ball in their hands with 32.7 seconds left before halftime. Abney hit junior Jacob Smith for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Smith then took over as quarterback on the two-point conversion to successfully pass the ball to Cumby. GCHS sat on a solid 24-0 lead at halftime.
After the half, the offensive struggle remained the same for WHHS. Young threw an interception after the Wolverines recovered a fumble. When the Golden Lions took over again, Abney took it in the end zone for a 21-yard quarterback keeper. Caudill added two points on another run.
Caudill continued to aid the Golden Lions, adding another touchdown and two-point conversion later in the third quarter. McPherson gave GCHS its last score of the game with a 14-yard run with 4:27 left in the third. Senior Dustin Keller added the two-point conversion for the 48-0 shutout.
Miller said all he can do is look ahead to the Wolverines’ next game at Powell County (1-7, 1-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“It is going to smashmouth against Powell,” he said. “We’re going to have to win the line of scrimmage if we’re going to have a chance to win.”