Upon completion of his first game as head coach, Craig Yeast gathered his Bryan Station Defenders around him, looked them in the eyes and said seriously, "I've got one question."
Then, jumping up in a celebration worthy of the end zone where they stood, Yeast exclaimed more than asked: "How does it feel."
The answer came in a roar after Bryan Station routed visiting Anderson County 47-23 in the high school football action Friday night.
"I'm most happy with the team coming out, first start in the new era, and we got the win tonight," said Everett Talbert, who scored Station's first touchdown, forced a fumble, had an interception and tied Raking Young for the team lead in tackles (6). "That's what I'm really glad about."
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Yeast, the former Harrodsburg and University of Kentucky star who went on to play in the NFL, said he did feel "great."
"I'm just so happy for my kids right now," he said. "They've worked and worked and worked since April, and it's paying off.
"We came out here and we made a few mistakes but, when the final buzzer hits and we're on top, that's what it's all about."
LaDarius Jackson ran for 115 yards on only six carries, scoring a pair of touchdowns to lead the ground game for a team that finished 1-10 last year.
Ora Johnson completed 7 of 12 passes for 183 yards, including scoring passes of 5 and 73 yards to Tyus Alcorn.
The Defenders also lived up to their name by winning the turnover category 4-0—three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Jaysuma Webb's 92-yard interception return on the final play of the first half, combined with Michael Morton's 35-yard PAT kick (the result of a celebration penalty), gave Bryan Station a 28-14 halftime lead.
"Coach just told me 'stay back'—it's going to come to me," Webb said. "And I knew if I made a play, it was going to change the momentum of the game. That's what I was going for."
Both teams were unstoppable in playing to a 14-14 draw through one quarter.
The Defenders' first drive of the Yeast era lasted 13 plays, 7½ minutes and 70 yards, with two fourth-down conversions, and culminated in Talbert's 2-yard touchdown run.
Then, the track meet was on.
Anderson answered in three plays, scoring on a 79-yard pass play from Seth Carmichael to wide-open Ethan Kelly.
The Defenders scored 40 seconds later on a 71-yard run by Jackson.
The Bearcats tallied 1:05 after that on Kelly's 52-yard burst.
After the first punt of the night, Anderson was driving again, but was short-circuited when Talbert forced a fumble and Young recovered.
That led to a 5-yard scoring pass from Johnson to Alcorn with 6:15 left in the half.
Bryan Station opened a 41-14 lead through three quarters, getting a 27-yard TD run and Alcorn's spectacular 73-yard reception. Alcorn took a short pass along the right sideline and broke at least three tackles to score.
Anderson's Kelly, who finished with 150 rushing yards and 97 receiving, scored his third TD on a 10-yard run with 6:43 left.
The Defenders recovered an onside kick and, three plays later, Jackson scored on a 38-yard run.
Anderson scored on a last-minute safety, the result of a high snap on a punt play.
"Hats off to Anderson County. They're a well-coached football team. They played hard tonight," Yeast said. "Our kids came to play."
Said Webb: "It's good to start with a 'W.' It's a brand new tradition."
Anderson County 14 0 0 9—23
Bryan Station 14 14 13 6—47
BS—Everett Talbert 2 run (kick blocked); AC—Ethan Kelly 79 pass from Seth Carmichael (Bill Rose kick); BS—LaDarius Jackson 71 run (Austin Hendron pass from Ora Johnson); AC—Kelly 52 run (Rose kick); BS—Tyus Alcorn 5 pass from Johnson (Michael Morton kick; BS—Jaysuma Webb 92 interception return (Morton kick); BS—L.J. Warfield 27 run (kick failed); BS—Alcorn 73 pass from Johnson (Morton kick); AC—Kelly 10 run (Rose kick); BS—Jackson 38 run (kick failed); AC—High punt snap recovered in end zone.
Records—Anderson Co. 0-1; Bryan Station 1-0.