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Taylor County Fights Back to Top Cross-town Rival Campbellsville

The banner held up by the Taylor County cheerleading squad prior to Friday night's city-county showdown with Class 1A #2 Campbellsville said "2019, the Year the Eagles Went Extinct." For much of the night it looked like the Cardinals of Taylor County were the birds in distress. However, two fourth quarter touchdowns by running back Wes Oliver and a late Carson Watson interception gave Taylor a 29-20 victory and gave notice to Class 3A that the Cardinals will be just as much of a threat in their new class as they were in Class 4A in 2018.

A fourth-and-ten touchdown reception by Gabe Burress gave Taylor an early 7-0 lead but Campbellsville closed the gap to 7-6 at the half and used two quick third quarter scores to make the deficit 20-7. Tre Goodin's only score of the evening lessened the margin for Taylor before Oliver scored twice to seal the win. Oliver finished the evening with 186 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

For Taylor County (3-0) and new head coach Sam Marple the question in the offseason was whether they could continue playing at the same level that took them to the 4A semifinals in 2018. Early returns said yes but the win over a bonafide state title contender in Campbellsville gives rise to even higher hopes. After next week's game with Green County, Taylor will face a stiff challenge on the road at Simon Kenton. There's also a mid-October district game with district rival and fellow Class 3A newbie Glasgow. So, while it might be too early to say Taylor County can win a crown, you can rest assured they're far from extinct.

Pendleton County's Hard Work Leads to Wins

It has been some time since Pendleton County enjoyed a winning season. Ten years in fact, with 2009 and 2005 the only teams in school history to finish .500 or better (the school began playing football in 2003). After years of struggle the wins are starting to come. If their 57-12 win over rival Bracken County on Friday is any indication, it could be a banner year in Falmouth.

"We’ve got a lot of seniors on this team that have been playing for a long time. They’ve got a lot of varsity experience and I like to tell the guys hard work pays off," head coach Brian Burgemeier told the Maysville Ledger-Independent (Pendleton pounds Polar Bears | Ledger Independent – Maysville Online). "We’ve been working hard for a long time and haven’t seen the results in the past and we’re starting to feel that this year. This team just goes out and believes, that’s our motto this year is to believe and they really do and it’s been paying off for us."

Pendleton's success starts on the ground. As a team, the Wildcats (3-0) have rushed for 1,074 yards through three games and the load is balanced. Lyle Secrist leads the team in rushing with 292 yards and teammate Matthew Campbell is right behind him with 286. Six different Pendleton players have scored rushing touchdowns on the season. The schedule has been admittedly weak, but for a program searching for wins and momentum, it's been just what the doctor ordered. And in a wide open District 6, the Wildcats might just be good enough to win them all.

Ground-and-Pound Golden Lions Match Last Year's Win Total

After a seventeen year absence from Garrard County football, head coach Jerry Perry returned in 2014 and immediately led the Golden Lions to a district championship. From that point the number of wins decreased each year as the district slate became brutal with the likes of Boyle County, Lexington Catholic, and Wandale Robinson-led Western Hills, although Garrard did advance to the second round of the playoffs in three of the five years.

It looks as though the talent in Lancaster is back on the uptick and the same old formula that has worked for Perry for so many years is working once again: an offensive line that wears out its opponent and a running game that piles up the yards.

Garrard County whipped Western Hills, 46-19, on Friday behind 293 rushing yards and five touchdowns for junior Christian Hansford. On the season Hansford has already rushed for 678 yards and 11 scores in helping Garrard match their previous year win total. As a team the Lions (2-1), who've only attempted two passes, have ran for 1,169 yards while an opportunistic defense has forced three fumbles in as many games.