Rebels bust out in home opener

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By Brian Blair

It had been 341 days since Owen County’s last home football victory. That win came against Atherton and their head coach Chris Collins.

Friday night, Collins brought his new team – Trimble County – to Patterson Field for a match-up with the Rebels.

He again left disappointed as the Rebels used a 16-point second quarter to take control of the game and eventually won 30-14. The victory evened the Owen County record at 2-2.

The Rebels came into the game looking to break a three-game losing streak to the Raiders.

Owen County Head Football Coach Adam Fowler knew that for Owen County to come out on top, they were going to have to stop the run. The Raiders entered Friday’s game having rushed for 543 yards on the season. They had also allowed their opponents to rush for 484 yards.

The game was scoreless in the first quarter until the Raiders intercepted a Cody McDaniels pass and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown.

The Rebels did not let the turn of events get them down.

Early in the second quarter, Luis Sanchez found Brandon Stephens open down the middle of the field for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Sanchez was in at quarterback after McDaniels sat out the series with an injury. The extra point hit the upright and the Raiders maintained a 7-6 advantage.

The Rebels played well all night on defense, and in the second quarter, they set the offense up for another score. Brandon Rainey tipped a pass to himself for an interception to give the Rebels the ball at the 20-yard line.

McDaniels, who was back in at quarterback, then connected with Justin Stephens for a 26-yard TD pass. This time, the extra point was good and the Rebels led 13-7.

It appeared that would be the margin heading into halftime but with less than a minute to play, McDaniels intercepted a pass and returned it to the Trimble County 15-yard line. With just seconds left in the half, Justin Davis came on and nailed a 32-yard field goal to send the Rebels into the locker room with a 16-7 lead.

The Rebels took the second half kickoff and began to dominate the game on the ground. Jared Johnson sprinted in from 23-yards out to give Owen County a 23-7 advantage. Johnson found the end zone again in the third quarter when he took the ball in from 18 yards out to make the score 30-7.

For the game, Johnson rushed the ball 17 times for 103 yards.

He was not the only Rebel who ran the ball well. The Rebels took advantage of having the lead throughout the second half and used both Johnson and Joey Wood to dominate the action. Wood rushed for 104 yards on 11 carries.

“It was nice playing with the lead,” Fowler said after the win. “We ran the same two plays for most the second half.”

The win was a total team-effort for Owen County, which was playing its first home game of the 2009 season.

Not only did the offense play well, the defense shut down the Trimble County running game and picked off five passes. They also recovered a fumble on a punt.

“There is nothing better than a home win,” said Brandon Stephens following the game.

The Rebels will not have long to get used to the home cooking as they will again be on the road this week as they travel to Bourbon County. The task will be the same. They need to shut down the best rushing team in the state. Going into last week’s game, the Colonels’ Taylor Barnes had rushed the ball 78 times for 653 yards. In contrast, quarterback John Stout had only thrown five passes, completing three.

Bourbon County will enter Friday night’s game looking to stop a two-game slide after they lost last week to Holmes 47-21.

The Rebels know a win would mean a great deal for themselves and the program.

“It would be great,” said Brandon Stephens.

Kickoff Friday night is set for 7:30 p.m.

In other games involving district opponents, Carroll County improved to 5-0 by defeating Walton-Verona 32-13. Christian Academy-Louisville squeaked past Louisville Holy Cross 10-7 to pick up its third win against one loss. DeSales was the only district team to lose Friday night as Seneca defeated the Colts 34-26. With the loss, DeSales is now 3-2.