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Seven turnovers doom Colonel Homecoming

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By Brad Stephens

BUCKNER –Oldham County’s Brian Barmantje didn’t need long to diagnose the reason for the Colonels’ loss to Fern Creek Friday.

  “You don’t win many games when you turn it over seven times,” the senior linebacker/offensive lineman said.

  But that’s exactly what OC did, losing four fumbles and throwing three interceptions in a 35-13 Homecoming loss at Bell Field to the Tigers.

  Five of the turnovers came on consecutive drives between the second and third quarters. Making matters worse, all five occurred in Colonel territory.

  “We just fumbled a bunch and made stupid mistakes, had stupid interceptions,” running back Ross Gowing said. “We’ve got to stop that… It’s very frustrating.”

  The first turnover came with OC trailing 7-3 after Fern Creek’s Chris Sharp ran for a 63 yard touchdown.

Facing a 3rd and 13 at his own 40, OC’s Jeremiah Bosco was picked off by Tiger Nick Morris. The Colonel defense stood tall and forced a three and out.

  Coach Matt Brown inserted James Harding at quarterback for Bosco on the next possession. But with a 3rd and 4 at his own 20, Harding threw a pass right to the Tigers’ Tre Webb.

  Fern Creek took advantage right away, with quarterback Marti White finding Lamarius Kinslow on a 24 yard pitch-and-catch to put the Tigers up 14-3 with 4:42 to play.

  Harding turned the ball over again on the second play of Oldham’s next possession, fumbling at the 19 yard line. The defense stepped up, and Jonathan Stocking made a diving interception to keep the Tigers off the board.

  With just 2:37 to play in the half, the Colonels needed to drive about 60 yards to be in Sean Nuernberger’s field goal range. They picked up their first first down in awhile on a Caleb Allen run, but two plays later Allen fumbled, giving Fern Creek the ball at the OC 29.

  But the Colonel defense answered the bell once again and Barmantje intercepted a hailmary pass at the end of the half, keeping the deficit at 14-3.

  Coming out of halftime Brown gave Ryan Grattan the chance to lead the offense. But Morris intercepted Grattan on his first pass. One play later Sharp took a counter trey 26 yards for a touchdown, pushing the Tiger lead to 21-3.

  “We gave them short fields, had some trouble stopping them sometimes,” said Barmantje, who had a team-high nine tackles. “Overall the defense played well but we could’ve done a better job stopping the long plays.”

  The fact Bosco, Grattan and Harding all turned the ball over during that stretch was frustrating to Brown, he said.

  “I’m just trying to find (the quarterback) that makes the least mistakes,” Brown said. “In this type of offense you’ve got to have somebody to get the ball out.

  “Everybody used to scream we were too conservative, too conservative, too conservative, too conservative and we were all idiots because we ran the ball all the time. Now we throw it all the time and we’re all idiots. It’s just finding the one that’s going to make us tick the best. But I don’t know who that is.”

  Trailing 21-3, Oldham finally got on the board late in the third on a 49 yard touchdown run by Gowing, cutting the score to 21-10.

  A Colonel defensive stop then gave OC the chance to cut the lead to one score. But three plays after a Grattan touchdown pass was called back for a hold, Grattan fumbled. This fumble was picked up by the Tigers’ Dejwan Kincaid, who took it the distance for a touchdown.

Nuernberger’s second field goal and a short Sharp touchdown run accounted for the 35-13 final score.

  Brown expressed frustration the Colonels are struggling to play well offensively, defensively and on special teams in the same game.

  “Tonight, not to say it hasn’t happened in the past, but tonight we played well defensively,” Brown said. “It was just a struggle offensively, turning the ball over. Not to say against Bullitt East we didn’t struggle defensively and offense played well. Just figuring that out is the biggest thing for us.”