GRC can’t rebound after extended weather delay

Published 12:47 pm Sunday, September 18, 2016

PARIS — Things were looking pretty good for the George Rogers Clark High School football team Friday night at Bourbon County High School when the weather rolled into town.

After a strong start, the Cardinals weren’t the same team when they took the field after an extended delay and lost 25-9.

Other than one big play — a 66-yard touchdown run with 6:39 left in the first quarter — the Bourbon County offense struggled against GRC’s defense.

Offensively, the Cardinals were moving the ball and were helped after turning the ball over on downs inside the Bourbon County 10-yeard line when the defense intercepted a pass to give the Cards another shot in the red zone. This time the Cardinals found paydirt.

Pearce Nisbet connected with Ohmante Jenkins on a touchdown pass and Nisbet’s PAT kick was good.

With a 7-6 lead and an aggressive defensive front wreaking havoc on the Colonel backfield, the Cardinals were perhaps the most disappointed when lightning put a stop to the action with just seconds remaining in the first quarter.

After nearly three hours, play resumed. But the Cardinal offense didn’t score again. GRC got a safety on a mishandled snap by the Bourbon County punt team, but didn’t have the same success it had in the first quarter.

“[The delay] was a big factor,” GRC coach Mike Riddle said. “You never know how much impact it’s going to have. Throughout the time, I felt like we stayed focused. We did walk-throughs and went over things on the board. We did have some downtime, but every group responds differently. It did play somewhat of a factor, I think.”

Rain fell throughout the remainder of the first half. Bourbon County, who normally relies on a passing-focused attack, turned to the ground game and found success.

“They ran the ball a lot more than they did in the past, that’s the only thing they did different that I saw,” Riddle said. “It was all stuff in the playbook. When you have a delay and you have some weather, you tend to rely on the run a little bit more.”

The Cardinals were hit by some bad luck. Brandon Kiniry was lost after taking a knee to the helmet. Trevon Curtis was also lost for a large chunk of the second half. Though Riddle doesn’t think any of those injuries will keep the players on the bench long.

“We’ll have everybody back,” he said. “It was a physical rivalry and we got a couple bumps and bruises, but we should have everybody back.”

The Cardinals also lost Jehdon Jenkins after he was ejected, but the GRC sideline received conflicting reports on the sophomore’s infraction. Riddle said he’ll have to give the tape a closer look.

The final horn blew at 1 a.m., ending a long, tough night for the Cards.

The loss drops GRC to 1-3 on the season and the Cardinals have a tough test ahead of them when they travel to Georgetown next week to take on Scott County.

“We’ll do the only thing you can do — go back to work, correct mistakes and get ready for Scott County. That’s your only choice,” Riddle said. “We took Saturday off because we got back at 1:30, so we’ll come back on Monday and practice and get ready for the next one.”

Casey can be reached at casey.castle@winchestersun.com.