By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor, Kentucky Standard
Bardstown’s record over the past three seasons is 12-23, with the common theme in each of those campaigns a season-opening loss. On Friday, the Tigers took the first step toward reversing that trend, holding Spencer County scoreless over the game’s final 33 minutes on the way to a 27-7 win.
“We were really pumped,” said senior quarterback Jordan Brewer, who accounted for 179 yards and three touchdowns on offense. “It’s really big (starting off the season with a win). We’re hoping it carries on to the next game and the next game and the next one.”
The last time Bardstown opened the season with a win was 2007, when the Tigers got all the way to the region championship game. Winning the 2011 opener was nice, players said, but there’s more work to do.
“We ain’t done it since I’ve been here,” senior linebacker Tanner Culver said. “It feels good, but we aren’t satisfied.”
The teams got off to an uneven start, trading several penalties early on until the Tigers took advantage of a poor punt late in the first quarter, getting the ball at midfield and turning it into a 7-0 lead just before the end of the frame on a 13-yard Brewer touchdown set up by a nifty fake.“We had some jitters going in,” Tiger coach David Clark said. “First half, I don’t think we played with as much excitement as we wanted to, but they responded well.”
The Bears answered back on the ensuing drive, tying the score at 7-7 when Trent Holbrook found Matt Black open for a 46-yard scoring pass just three minutes into the second quarter.
That would be all for Spencer, however, as the Bardstown defense clamped down, giving the Tiger offense time to find its flow.
“We were just playing aggressive and playing fast,” Culver said. “We went in at halftime and said, ‘We’ve got to finish this game right,’ and we did.”
Brewer participated in his second touchdown of the game with about five minutes to play in the half, as Anthony Myrks — the senior had seven receptions on the night — caught a short pass, weaved through traffic and emerged in the end zone with a 8-yard touchdown.
The Tigers finally seized control on the opening drive of the second half when Brewer broke loose from several would-be tacklers for an electrifying 37-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7.
“He’s big and strong, and extremely fast,” Clark said. “What a combination to have.”
In all, Brewer was an efficient 14-for-20 passing for 89 yards and one score, and the senior rushed 11 times for 90 yards and two more scores.
“He’s getting more and more comfortable,” Clark said. “We don’t want to run him a lot, but it’s just evident what he can do when he has the ball in his hands. We try to pick our spots of when he’s going to carry and how he’s going to carry, and he made some big plays.”
Brewer said part of the team’s opening-night success has to do with getting to know his teammates better.
“I’ve been playing with these guys now for a year,” he said. “We’re really close; we just know each other, so everybody’s more comfortable.”
The Tigers capped off their scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run by senior Jack Whitfield, who rushed for 52 yards.
“Spencer County had a nice, strong, big, solid team. It took us a while to wear them down,” Clark said. “Once we wore them down a little bit, that’s when we started having more success in the second half.”
Overall, the Bardstown offense produced 258 yards on the ground on 36 carries. Senior C.J. Jackson ran nine times for 80 yards.
Tiger junior lineman Lincoln Doan came up with the game’s lone turnover, recovering a Bears fumble at midfield late in the third quarter.
Bardstown hosts Bethlehem (0-1) Friday for the Mayor’s Cup