VERSAILLES — Tates Creek's 34-13 victory over Lincoln County in the Governors' Bowl on Saturday had a few warts, but it sure looked good to Mike Harmon.
"A win's a win," he said with a smile. "We'll take it."
It was Harmon's 50th victory as a head coach. The first 49 came in seven seasons at Lafayette. No. 50 was special because it was his first with the school he played for 20 years ago.
"We've obviously got a long way to go, but I think we got a little bit better tonight," Harmon said.
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Host Woodford County won the second game, beating Bardstown 49-34. Quarterback Steven Duckworth hooked up with Chris Jones on three touchdown passes in the first half to spark the Yellowjackets to a big lead before Bardstown made it close in the fourth quarter.
Tates Creek's offense had a case of butterfingers (four fumbles), and its defense surrendered a few big plays. But the Commodores' overall performance and effort were too much for the Patriots.
Rozell James rushed for 82 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown, and caught three passes for 43 yards.
Jontez Jones rushed for 78 yards, highlighted by a 36-yard TD. Tyler Love, a 225-pound fullback, bulldozed for 58 yards and a score.
Quarterback Chris Kemplin completed 15 of 24 passes for 167 yards and a TD. Cam Ruddell had four catches for 90 yards.
The defense had its standouts, too.
Damon Boggs returned a fumble 58 yards for a score, and also had an interception.
Joe Conlon, Alan Beatty and Jacob Kadel led Tates Creek in tackles.
After Lincoln County jumped ahead 6-0 on Trey Edwards' 44-yard TD pass to Julian Calhoun, the Commodores took control and led 21-6 at halftime.
The Patriots pulled to within 21-13 on Jerril Alcorn's 44-yard run early in the third quarter.
But Tates Creek's defense didn't let Lincoln County any closer.
The Commodores lost to Campbell County 31-14 in its season opener. What did they do better Saturday night?
"We executed the plays and fired off the ball, and we played with more intensity and focus during the week getting ready," James said.
Lincoln County, under first-year coach Mike Settles, was led by Alcorn and Calhoun, who combined for 100 yards rushing. Calhoun also had 71 yards receiving.
The Patriots' lineup was thinned by players coming down with cramps throughout the game.
Woodford County 49, Bardstown 34: What looked like a blowout — the Jackets led 35-7 at halftime and 42-14 going into the fourth quarter — got interesting when Bardstown rang up three quick TDs to make it 42-34 with five minutes left.
The Tigers hoped to get the ball back with a chance to tie, but they were flagged for pass interference on fourth down with 2:33 left.
Woodford County made it pay by scoring a clinching TD on Ryan Garrahan's 12-yard pass to Alex Forkner.
Duckworth threw for 115 yards and three TDs in the first half before sitting out the second half to nurse a sore ankle. The Jackets have three district games starting with Montgomery County next week, and Coach Chris Tracy didn't want to take any chances with his QB.
Jordan Carter had a big game for Woodford County. He rushed 14 times for 153 yards and gave the Jackets terrific field position with his kick returns.
Bardstown relied on 6-foot-3, 230-pound running back Rashaun Phillips early. He rushed for 97 yards in the first half, and finished the night with 116 yards and a TD.
Tates Creek 34, Lincoln Co. 13
Lincoln Co. 6 0 7 0—13
Tates Creek 7 14 7 6—34
LC—Julian Calhoun 44 pass from Trey Edwards (kick failed). TC—Rozell James 54 run (Abdel-Sater Shalash kick). TC—Damon Boggs 58 fumble return (Shalash kick). TC—Darian Carter 4 pass from Chris Kemplin (Shalash kick). LC—Jerril Alcorn 44 run (Michael Huffman kick). TC—Tyler Love 1 run (Shalash kick). TC—Jontez Jones 36 run (kick failed).
Records—Tates Creek 1-1; Lincoln Co. 0-2.
Woodford Co. 49, Bardstown 34
Bardstown 7 0 7 20—34
Woodford Co. 14 21 7 7—49
WC—Chris Jones 13 pass from Steven Duckworth (Taylor Ratcliff kick). B—D.J. Keene 9 pass from T.J. Downs (Keaton Hall kick). WC—Jordan Carter 5 run (Ratcliff kick). WC—Jones 17 pass from Duckworth (Ratcliff). WC—Steven Peavler 51 punt return (Ratcliff kick). WC—Jones 13 pass from Duckworth (Ratcliff kick). B—Ricky Harper 49 run (Hall kick). WC—Carter 55 run (Ratcliff kick). B—DeAngelo Poynter 6 run (Hall kick). B—Jordan Hickman 55 pass from Keaton Hall (Hall kick). B—Rashaun Phillips 5 run (kick failed). WC—Alex Forkner 12 pass from Ryan Garrahan (Ratcliff kick).
Records—Bardstown 0-2, Woodford Co. 1-1.