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South Oldham gives up the big plays in 32-20 loss at Anderson County

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Dragons host Doss next Friday

By Elliott Pratt

LAWRENCEBURG — It didn't take long for South Oldham to find out just how young it was in the season opener.

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13 seconds to be exact.

From the opening kickoff, the Dragons' inability to stop the big play was the deciding factor in a 32-20 loss at Anderson County to start the 2015 season.

Bearcat senior Ryan Martin returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and added two more big scores as Anderson County added another win to its series with South Oldham for a 12-1 series advantage.

Martin had a 92-yard second quarter rushing touchdown and added a third TD late in the fourth for 147 yards on the night to help the Bearcats out-duel the Dragons 408-358 in total offense.

South held a 14-12 lead late in the second quarter before a score put Bearcats ahead at halftime on their way to 20 unanswered points before the Dragons scored late in the game.

"We're young and all this stuff is new with a game night experience," South coach Jamie Reed said. "Anderson County is no slouchy team. I think if we clean up some of those mistakes we have a chance to be pretty special. But obviously, you have to help those mistakes."

Shane Wilson led South Oldham (0-1) with 15 carries for 62 yards and a goal line score that gave the Dragons the lead with 4:50 to play in the first quarter.

That touchdown followed up South's first response to Anderson's opening kickoff for a touchdown, and it only took three plays.

After back-to-back losses on a third-and-long, starting sophomore quarterback Drew Zaubi threw a fade to senior Starr Thompson down the left sideline, who raced to the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown.

Drew Koch's extra point gave South a 7-6 lead less than two minutes into the game.

The Dragons' plan entering the game was to use two quarterbacks in the first half, no matter their performance.

Zaubi finished the first quarter 3-for-5 for 115 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Fellow sophomore Chandler Lightfoot went 4-for-6 in the second quarter for 62 yards, but Reed elected to go with Zaubi for the second half.

"The things we were looking at were confidence and composure," Reed said. "(Zaubi) had a strong first quarter and I thought it was a situation to where we felt he could lead us in the second half."

Zaubi finished the game 10-for-22 for 215 yards and two TDs, but threw three interceptions.

Following Martin's second quarter score, Anderson County quaterback Gunnar Gillis found Tyler Peters for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left in the first half to give the Bearcats the lead for good.

Lightfoot led a late charge before halftime with a lob to receiver Keanan John as time expired, who hauled in the pass before being brought down at the one-yard line for a 36-yard completion as the last play of the half.

John had five catches for 102 yards and Thompson had 89 yards receiving on four receptions.

Zaubi's second touchdown came with 2:19 to play on a 28-yard scoring pass to Brandon Elsbury, who finished with two catches for 62 yards and the score.

"They're improving and definitely getting better," John said about the quarterbacks. "In the beginning of camp, we were unsure how they would progress, but they're doing well. It was a bit of a struggle in the scrimmage to get passes down, but out here, they had a lot of completions and they were getting the ball to us."

Anderson (1-0) used it's two-tandem backfield of Martin and Brydon Labhart to wear down the Dragons' defense in the second half. Labhart had a 65-yard touchdown run with 9:35 left in the third quarter and Martin's third touchdown came on a 24-yard run late in the fourth.

Labhart finished with 10 carries for 100 yards.

"Some of our guys play both ways and you could start seeing our guys wear down," Reed said. "It's one of those things that we knew coming in here that we were going to have to find a way to establish some backup in some positions and some guys were going to get tired. I think that's what happened. Schematically, we're able to compete, but when our kids get tired, we have to have some quality depth to come in behind them to help."

Reed said before the game that finishing drives offensively and capitalizing on red zone opportunities was an area the Dragons needed to capitalize. Friday night, South was 3-for-12 on third down attempts and had just two trips inside the redzone.

Wilson's goal line score in the first quarter and a fumble occurring in the third quarter on a pitch from Zaubi to Thompson inside the 20-yard line hurt the Dragons' scoring chances.

"We took a lump tonight and we'll go back to the drawing board and try to get better next week," Reed said. "...For a young team like us to come in and play Anderson County, this was a possibility. The biggest growth will be how we play next week against Doss."

 

South Oldham 14 0 0 6 — 20

Anderson County 6 12 7 7 — 32

 

First quarter

AC - 11:47 - Ryan Martin 97 yard kickoff return (Simmons kick failed)

SO - 10:09 - Starr Thompson 57-yard pass from Drew Zaubi (Koch kick)

SO - 4:50 - Wilson 1-yard run (Kock kick)

 

Second quarter

AC - 8:03 - Martin 92-yard run (Gillis pass failed)

AC - 0:16 - Tyler Peters 34-yard pass from Gunnar Gillis (Simmons kick failed)

 

Third quarter

AC - 9:35 - Brydon Labhart 65-yard run (Simmons kick)

 

Fourth quarter

AC - 3:39 - Martin 24-yard run (Simmons kick)

SO - 2:19 - Brandon Elsbury 28-yard pass from Zaubi (Koch pass failed)