HALL OF FAME
Tigers roll through Cards for 422 on the ground
September 11, 2012Bardstown High School
FOOTBALL: Tigers roll through Cards for 422 on the ground
Young, Tonge explode as Bardstown rolls to 55-35 win
Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm
Bardstown jumped on top early by scoring the game’s first touchdown before a minute of clock time had ticked away, then kept Nelson County under its thumb by plowing for 422 rushing yards in a 55-35 win Friday.
“We just prepare for that every week — what we do in practice turns over in the game,” said junior Deion Tonge, who accounted for 252 yards and two scores on the ground, and picked off a pass. “We came outside, we brought it, and the scoreboard tells it all.”
The Cardinals (1-3) mishandled a short kickoff to open the game, fumbling it away. Two plays later, Tonge scampered into the end zone with a 22-yard score, touching off a night that saw him average 19.4 yards a carry. After Nelson County answered with a tying touchdown on a Dylan Beasley 4-yard run with about three minutes left in the first quarter, Tonge struck again on the Tigers’ very next play from scrimmage for a 60-yard touchdown run.
“I always say, ‘set the tone,’” said Bardstown quarterback Keano Young. “I’d say we did.”
The remainder of the night frequently saw Tonge gashing out large chunks of yardage against the Cardinal defense, regularly operating behind a phalanx of blockers. Tonge said blocking drills have been a big part of the Tigers’ practice schedule in the two weeks since beating Bethlehem.
“The line did great, our backs blocked great, and our receivers — the last two weeks we’ve been practicing (holding your block) all four seconds,” he said. “They held their blocks, I made my cuts, and we do what we do.”
Bardstown coach David Clark said Tonge has been playing himself into shape lately, and has an opportunity to do some special things if he continues to work hard.
“He’s getting in better and better shape, and if you’ll notice, each game he’s getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “He’s a force to be reckoned with. People need to start watching out for him. I think he can be a big-time player.”
The Tigers (3-0) extended their lead to 20-7 early in the second quarter on a 6-yard scoring run by Donshais Calbert (11 rushes for 55 yards), but Beasley was able to hook up with Austin Lovvorn for a completion along the right sideline that saw the junior wideout spin out of multiple tackles and roll to a 57-yard score that cut it to 20-14.
Young felt like he had some extra motivation the week leading up to the game, what with his opposite number, Beasley, garnering all the headlines in the wake of his record-breaking 652-yard passing performance the previous week at Marion County.
“That’s all I heard was how good he was,” Young said. “But I ain’t worried about all that. I just came out here to do what I do and try to get my team to victory.”
All the sophomore did was carry the ball 11 times for 78 yards and three touchdowns, and come up with a pair of scores through the air as well.
“He’s electric; he’s a sophomore,” Clark said. “The more he sees, the better he gets. Plus, having those (veteran) running backs behind him,” such as Tonge and seniors Calbert and Dee Yocum, makes a big difference.
Young hit Marcus Cosby for a 54-yard touchdown pass with 6:21 left in the half, then added a conversion run to make it 28-14. On the Cardinals’ next possession, Tonge picked off Beasley and returned it to the Nelson 30. One play later, Young rolled right and found daylight in the form of a 35-14 score, leaving Nelson County to play catchup the rest of the game.
“We can’t win games 60-55,” said Nelson coach Jamie Egli, who lamented his team’s inability to make stops. “We spent exactly 40 minutes on (practicing) offense the entire week. Like, the whole week. Every other minute was spent on defense. I guess we’ve got to spend even more time on defense.”
The Cardinals twice pulled within two scores of the Tigers in the second half, but Nelson’s struggles on defense were too much to overcome as Young passed for a touchdown and rushed for another in the fourth quarter.
“We played scared on defense from the beginning of the game,” Egli said. “We were scared that they were going to run by us, or break us down and make us miss.”
A key to the Tigers’ success was winning the turnover battle, Clark said, and his team responded with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries while only giving it up once.
Overall, Bardstown accounted for 496 yards of offense.
“We’ve gotta make plays on defense; we’ve gotta tackle,” Egli said. “We’re in the right spot, we’ve just got to wrap up, grab cloth” and make the play.
Nelson County produced 456 yards total offense, with Beasley accounting for 404 through the air and four touchdowns on 32-for-50 passing. Lovvorn was his favorite target, catching seven passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, while Ben Jones produced 116 yards combined rushing and receiving.
Friday’s matchup counted as a district game for the Cardinals, as will this week’s visit from LaRue County (2-2). Next for Bardstown is a visit to Elizabethtown (1-3).