BRANDENBURG, Ky. – The story was all too familiar to coach Ron Barnard and the Marshall County Marshals football team – an early struggle, and a large number of points to try to overcome.
Meade County scored seven touchdowns in the first 15-1/2 minutes en route to a 47-13 victory in the first round of the state Class 6A playoffs on a cold Friday night at Hamilton Field.
The outcome ends the Marshals’ season at 1-10.
“When you play a top-10 team team, you can’t have slow starts, you can’t have turnovers, you can’t have penalties,” Barnard said.
The Marshals had all those things Friday night.
“It’s like walking into a beehive,” Barnard said. “They’re a top 10 team for a reason. Our guys didn’t give up. They battled until the final whistle.”
After halftime, Marshall County took the fight to the Green Wave, punching in two touchdowns and threatening a third score before an interception ended that drive.
Senior Nolan Nichols spearheaded the second-half rally, scoring both touchdowns on runs of 7 and 12 yards.
“We were just tired of getting pushed to our backs and stuff, so we just said, that’s it. We came out and played,” Nichols said.
Meade County scored on its first seven possessions to take control of the game.
The Marshals got a 42-yard kickoff return by Justin Robinson to start the second half. They drove from their own 45 to a touchdown at the 7:08 mark, with Nichols carrying six times, the last carry covering the last 7 yards of the drive. Ethan Mensch booted the conversion for a 47-7 score.
Meade County fumbled twice on its first possession after intermission, with Robinson covering the second one to give Marshall County the ball at the Meade 19. It took two plays for the Marshals to score again, with Nichols going 12 yards to the end zone with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
Meade drove past midfield on its next series, but stalled at the 45. A snap sailed over punter Ethan Miller’s head and the Marshals downed him at the Meade 35. They drove to the 7 for a first-and-goal, but lost 2 yards on a run.
Then Clay Allen tried a throw to the right corner of the end zone, but the ball floated and Jay Maloney picked it off for Meade County at the goal line. He rambled 41 yards before he was tackled.
The senior quarterback finished the game despite an injury to his throwing hand by contact with another player’s helmet in the first half, but he made no excuses.
“We were rushed but you’ve got to be able to make that throw,” Allen said.
The two teams exchanged brief possessions before Marshall County came up short on a fourth-and 2 attempt.
“You know, we’ve been a second-half team most of the year,” Barnard said of the second-half showing. “Our record is not indicative of the kind of young men we have. They’ve battled. They’ve battled all year, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for that.”