High School Football

Focused Defenders roll

On trick-or-treat night, Bryan Station's football team treated its fans to its best performance of the season by blasting Tates Creek 38-6.

Even though the city rivals aren't in the same classification and the game didn't have playoff ramifications, that didn't make it a hollow win on Halloween.

To the contrary, Bryan Station's victory was notable for two reasons: It ended a five-year losing streak to Tates Creek, and it gave the Defenders a shot at their first winning season since 2000.

If Bryan Station beats Fleming County next week, it will take a 6-4 record into the playoffs be guaranteed of finishing above .500.

"Finally beating Tates Creek gets another monkey off our back," Coach Oliver Lucas said. "And if we can put together a winning season, we've elevated the program to the next level."

The Defenders elevated their play Friday night. The hosts jumped up 17-0 in the first 15 minutes and never let Tates Creek get back in it.

"We stayed focused," senior defensive back Earl McCann said. "The offense and defense got it done, and so did the special teams."

Senior receiver Muhammad Saifullah agreed.

"Coach always talks about the perfect game, and this was close to it," he said. "We can still get better, but this was our best game of the year."

Bryan Station's skill people did their jobs.

Saifullah had a couple sensational scores in the third quarter. First, he out-jumped a Tates Creek defender in the back of the end zone to snag a 14-yard touchdown pass from Brady Boling. A few minutes later, he returned a punt 51 yards for a score.

"I saw a huge hole and nothing ahead of me but the end zone," he said. "So I just ran off with it."

Chaz Mitchell, a cousin of Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, flashed his speed in the first half when he turned a simple swing pass into a 63-yard catch-and-run TD. The junior receiver finished with three catches for 96 yards.

Scatback Patrick Cornett rushed for 92 yards and a TD, and Boling threw for 144 yards and two scores.

"We always say we have skill people who can make a scoring explosion," Lucas said. "We expect them to make plays, and tonight they did."

McCann spearheaded the defense, which limited Tates Creek to just 63 yards, including a net zero on the ground.

McCann led in tackles, and also got his eighth interception of the season.

Roy Philon, Octavian Crutcher and Dharhan Mason also helped to shut down the Commodores.

Tates Creek's only offensive spark came in the closing seconds of the first half when it capped a short drive with a TD pass from Chris Kemplin to LaRobert Bett-Grant.

"Bryan Station did a good job," Tates Creek Coach Mike Harmon said. "We missed a couple tackles early and they broke a couple big runs.

"We've got to quit getting our heads down, and keep believing and keep getting better."

Tates Creek finishes the regular season at unbeaten Bell County next week while Bryan Station visits Fleming County looking for a winning season.

"It's about more than that," McCann said. "It's about momentum going into the playoffs, too."

Tates Creek 0 6 0 0— 6

Bryan Station 14 3 14 7—38

BS—Tevin McCaden 22 run (Jose Marin kick). BS—Chaz Mitchell 63 pass from Brady Boling (Marin kick). BS—Christian King 41 FG. TC—LaRobert Bett-Grant 13 pass from Chris Kemplin (run failed). BS—Muhammad Saifullah 14 pass from Boling (Marin kick). BS—Saifullah 51 punt return (Marin kick). BS—Patrick Cornett 1 run (Claire Henkel kick),

Records—Tates Creek 2-7; Bryan Station 5-4

TC BS

First downs 5 15

Rushing yds 0 145

Passing yds 63 162

Passes 24-10-3 17-8-0

Punts-avg 7-28.3 3-35.0

Penalties-yds 6-62 5-30

Fumbles-lost 3-0 3-1

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