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Dragons conquer Conner

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Lightfoot out-duels Barker in District Win

By Brad Stephens

CRESTWOOD – Conner came to town Friday with the hype. The Cougars left town with a loss.

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South Oldham played maybe its best all-around game of the season, beating Conner 34-32 in its district opener at Dragon Stadium.

“Everyone doubted us in the beginning and no one’s ever believed in us,” said quarterback Chase Lightfoot. “That’s just how South Oldham fights. We come out and fight every time.”

The Dragons (3-3) answered one of their toughest tests to date this year, facing Cougar quarterback Drew Barker. Barker, one of the leading candidates for Kentucky’s Mr. Football award, committed to Kentucky this summer and is considered the Wildcats’ QB of the future.

But he was out-dueled on both sides of the ball Friday by South’s own signal-caller, Lightfoot.

Defensively, Lightfoot intercepted Barker twice. Offensively, Lightfoot completed 10-of-19 passes for 145 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

“(Facing Barker) motivated me, but I just tried to play the game,” Lightfoot said. “We let everything go, didn’t read the newspapers or anything and just played our game.”

South had to overcome an early deficit to get the win. Conner (3-2) raced out to a 19-7 lead midway through the second quarter. At that point Barker had thrown two touchdown passes and the Cougars had scored on each of their first three possessions.

The Dragons stopped that momentum on their next drive. A 40-yard pass from Lightfoot to Davis Culbertson set up a nine-yard Kevin Kuriger touchdown, cutting the deficit to 19-14.

Kuriger finished with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

On Conner’s next drive a Barker pass bounced off his receiver’s hands and into the grasp of Lightfoot, who returned the interception to the five-yard line.

Lightfoot then threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Dearen to give South a 21-19 late-second quarter lead.

As the Dragon offense got going, South’s defense started shutting down the Cougar attack.

The Dragons kept Conner off the board on a drive in the final minutes of the first half, preserving the two-point lead.

Then on the Cougars’ opening drive of the second half, Lightfoot picked off Barker again.

“Our plan was to hit them in the mouth and keep our responsibilities,” said linebacker Shane Smith, who finished with six tackles. “We did exactly what our coaches told us to do on defense and it obviously paid off well for us.”
South stretched its lead to 27-19 on a three-yard touchdown pass from Lightfoot to Ticorion Williams.

Barker cut the lead back to 27-25 in the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown run. A perfect 22-yard pitch-and-catch from Lightfoot to Ethan Reinert in the back corner of the end zone answered that score and put South up 34-25.

However a touchdown run by Conner’s Andrew Way with five minutes left cut the lead to 34-32 and set up a dramatic finish.

With a fourth down in his own territory, Dragon coach Jamie Reed called a fake punt. The play failed, and Conner had the ball at South’s 26 with 3:23 left, down two.

That’s when the Dragon defense stepped up, stopping the Cougars on four straight plays and getting the ball back to its offense.

“The defense really bailed me out on that last play,” Reed said of the fake punt call.

“We were all yelling ‘Bow your backs,’” Smith said. “That’s when defenses have to be tough… We knew we had to stop them to win this game.”

Finally Williams sealed the 34-32 win on the ensuing possession when he dragged two defenders five yards to pick up a first down on a late third-and-four run.

“The team needed it to secure the win,” Williams said. “I had to do what I had to do to pick up the first down.”
South will be home once again this Friday, hosting Grant County at 7:30. Pegasus Sports will carry the game online, with the pregame show starting at 7.

After beating Conner the Dragons will go into the Grant County game 1-0 in district play, with one big opponent in the rear view mirror.

“They have one star player that gets all the headlines and nobody else gets any credit over there,” Reed said of Conner. “When you come to our team… we’ve got 22 guys fighting for each other tooth and nail.
“That’s what we try to sell here at South Oldham. We don’t run the flashiest offense. We don’t run the flashiest defense. But we try to sell brotherhood, teammates, camaraderie and so I was really proud of our whole team.”

North beats Spencer

Arien Beasley rushed for a team-high 90 yards and returned an interception and a kickoff for touchdowns Friday as North Oldham opened district play with a 34-20 win over Spencer County in Goshen.

Beasley opened the game with a 95-yard kick return to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.

Two touchdown runs by Nick Thome and one from Quentin Shea made the advantage 28-6 right before halftime.
Then a 95-yard interception return from Beasley early in the third quarter put the game away at 34-6.

North is off this week.

OC falls at Bullitt East

Bullitt East’s Pierce Kelly ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Chargers beat Oldham County 38-21 Friday in Mt. Washington.

Oldham held an early 14-8 lead after Ross Gowing scored one receiving and one rushing touchdown.
But Kelly accounted for two scores late in the second half, and another Bulltt East touchdown put the Chargers ahead 32-14 after three quarters.

Gowing finished with 97 yards on seven carries for the Colonels.

James Harding ran for one touchdown and threw for another.

Oldham is off this week.

Email us about this story at sports@oldhamera.com.