High School Sports

‘It sucks.’ Clash of football juggernauts called at half due to lightning

Scott County’s Payton Brown, 12, right, stiff arms Highlands’ Shabaz Butt, 22, during the second quarter of a football game held at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.
Scott County’s Payton Brown, 12, right, stiff arms Highlands’ Shabaz Butt, 22, during the second quarter of a football game held at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.

Mother Nature was the only thing that got in Scott County’s way on Friday night.

The Cardinals defeated Highlands, 28-7, in a game that was called final after one half of play. Lightning in the area forced a delay with 3 minutes left in the first half. About 15 minutes later the first half was ruled as completed, and the game was ruled final and in favor of Scott County at about 9:45 p.m. Scott County didn’t need inclement weather to help it improve to 3-0. Highlands suffered its first loss of the season.

“It sucks,” Scott County Coach Jim McKee said. “I really wanted to finish the game but I’m respectful to the overall situation.”

The Cardinals racked up 226 rushing yards in 21 minutes of game action while holding Highlands’ offense to only 22 total yards. The only score for the Bluebirds came on an 83-yard kickoff return by Brycen Huddleston in the first half.

“We got a little kickoff-coverage issue,” Scott County Coach Jim McKee said. “That’s one two weeks in a row.”

Huddleston’s TD was immediate answer to a score by Payton Brown that gave Scott County a 7-0 lead with 5:41 left in the first quarter. The Cardinals took the lead for good on an Austin Barnett TD with 25 seconds to play in the opening period. Bronson Brown scored with 8:07 left in the second period and Payton Brown got on the scoreboard again with exactly 3 minutes left; the lightning delay went into effect moments later.

Barnett led the Cardinals with 121 yards on 19 carries. Bronson Brown had 67 yards on eight rushes while Payton Brown went 33 yards on six touches.

Junior quarterback Cade McKee completed two of his three pass attempts, including a critical 17-yard throw to Glenn Covington on a 3rd and 15 conversion during the drive that gave Scott County the lead for good.

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Austin Barnett rushed 182 yards and four TDs on 23 carries in Scott County’s 56-28 win at Simon Kenton last Friday. Barnett is shown here running at Highlands earlier in the 2018 season. Gary Landers

Scott County started its season with home victories over North Bullitt (56-13) and Lafayette (59-28). Central, a Class 3A front-runner, defeated the Cardinals, 20-14, in a road scrimmage earlier in August.

“I think we’ve made as big a growth spurt in three weeks as we have in our program in a long time,” McKee said. “I’m never concerned because I’m focused on tomorrow, but I knew after Louisville Central that tomorrow was gonna be really busy.”

This was the final game in a four-game series between the football powerhouses. Scott County went 4-0. McKee said the programs couldn’t come to terms on an extension but he hopes they meet once again in the postseason; Scott County will move down to Class 5A beginning next season.

“I wish we were still going to continue the series, we just couldn’t work out the date,” McKee said. “They do everything the right way. Somebody met us, they got pizza for us. I thought the environment was great. We brought a good crowd, they had a good crowd. I love playing them. I want to continue to coach at Scott County for a few more years and I hope we see them down the road sometime in a big 5A playoff game.”

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The Scott County football team takes the field against Highlands just before the start of a football game held at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. Gary Landers
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