MANCHESTER, Ky.) – After a hectic week of dealing with rescheduling due to COVID-19 implications with other schools, Clay County (3-2) would notch their third win of the season defeating Casey County 54-32 on Friday night. The Tigers would attack the Rebels thru the air, as freshman QB Tate Rice would throw for 310 yards and six touchdowns on the evening. Junior WR Adam Collins led the Tigers with a four-touchdown effort, dominating the secondary of the Rebels.
Clay would jump out to a 14-0 lead setting the tone early, however the Rebels simply just wouldn’t go away. Casey would battle back to give Clay a small 20-12 halftime advantage. The Tigers would ultimately pull away in the second half, as an interception returned for touchdown by Brady Wolfe would be the spark the Tigers needed to widen the gap.
Tiger Coach Mike Sizemore says this season has presented challenges that have simply been unlike anything anyone has ever seen. “I have never seen anything like the 2020 season thus far in terms of having to be adaptable and be ready to go in a short amount of time,” said Sizemore. “We had three different opponents scheduled for Friday night in about a three-or- four-day window. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on some counties and cancellations we were fortunate enough to be able to pick up Casey County Wednesday evening.”
The Tigers ground game returned to form, as Ben Meadows rushed for 122 yards, while Trevor Spurlock tacked on 72 yards. However, it was the Tiger aerial attack that once again shined with six players tallying a reception on the night, led by Adam Collins 13 catches and 104 yards. Collins, Connor Farmer, and Raven Abner each found the endzone, led by Collins four trips.
Brady Wolfe’s pick six shifted the momentum in the game says Sizemore. “I think that was a huge turning point in the game,” said Sizemore. “Both teams were clicking on all cylinders Friday night on offense and it really was going to come down to whoever flinched first and allowed something like a pick six to tilt the game in their favor. I was thrilled to see the ball bounce out of their hands and Brady to be able to make that play on it in the air and then let his athleticism take over and return it for a score. I was excited to see Brady break through Friday on that play, he had some struggles on offense and it was really great to see that kid have such a moment that big in that game to put us over.”
The Tigers wide receiver core may be the most elite group on a Clay County team in the last 20 years. They are posting astounding numbers each week with the help of Tate Rice. “This would probably have to be considered one of the deepest and most athletic groups that we've had here especially in recent memory,” said Coach Sizemore. “We've had some excellent receivers come through here in the past and to be mentioned up there as one of the best groups, if not the best, is definitely a complement to our kids and our coaches that have put so much time into them. You really like to see those guys have success out there on the field. It's also hard to compare era's, especially in the styles and schemes that are constantly being tweaked in the game even in the last 10 years, but our kids are definitely doing a great job of making plays for us. A lot of people don't realize the work that these kids put in during the offseason to develop that timing and chemistry that they have, it was unfortunate that we didn't get to play in any of our passing leagues but they are really starting to come on and improve as the season goes on. When you throw in the height of guys like Brady, Zach, and Raven with their ability to stretch the field vertically and then mix in the toughness, speed, and tenacity of Adam and Connor it gives you a very tough challenge covering them all. We've built our scheme around those guys and they had done a great job for us so far this year. It's amazing to see the growth of our football program and how much the perception of our team has changed over the last few years. These guys and the rest of our team are pushing us forward by having such a great year out there.”
Overall, it was a solid win for the Tigers even with minimal time to prepare. The Tigers have developed the identity of a passing team, and it propelled them to yet another victory. “When playing a game on short notice like this it really helps if you have an identity that you can fall back on, essentially being able to do what you do because there is no huge amount of game planning or opponent specific preparation that can happen in a day's notice especially when coaching high school kids,” said Sizemore. “I actually think staying involved in JV and Freshman ball the way we do as a coaching staff really helped us this week because that is essentially how you have to get ready for JV games every week so you better know your scheme and your adjustments and be able to adjust on the fly in the game. Casey County done an excellent job of this as well, those guys have a really well coached team and you can see why they've had the success they've had over there the last several years but our kids done an excellent job or playing and hanging tough in order to put us in a position to win. Our kids done an excellent job of playing as a team, we had 7 kids tally more than 40 yards of offense for us on Friday night. Our guys continue to buy in and do a great job of playing team football and that is contributing to a lot of our success on the field right now. As much success as we have had throwing the football, I also liked seeing us be able to come in there and establish the run late in the game to pull away.”