WINCHESTER — Pokey Harris ran for four touchdowns and intercepted a pass Friday night to lead Clark County to a 46-18 rout of visiting Bryan Station in the first high school football game of the season for both teams.
If there was any doubt about the Cardinals' ability to focus under duress, there needn't have been.
Clark County receiver and defensive back Mykal Barnes has been at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital since being seriously injured in a car wreck Sunday night.
The mid-field logo for Friday's game was a simple "MB" in support of Barnes, and a moment of silence was observed for him. The concession-stand wall was adorned with a banner, his picture set between the phrases "Stay Strong Mykal" and "Please Keep Him In Your Prayers." Placards with "8" — Barnes' uniform number — were distributed. The "MB" and "8" also were on helmet decals worn by the Cardinals.
"We're so proud of them because of the situation we were in this past week," Coach Paul Columbia said. "They got focused after a day off Monday. We told them 'we've got to play with maximum effort for Mykal. We've got to play with emotion, but you can't let the emotion make you forget how to do your job.' "
The outcome spoiled Kenny Turner's debut as Defenders coach.
Harris, who is called "Pokey" because as a young baseball player someone said he played like Pokey Reese, finished with 121 yards on 12 carries and also caught a pass for seven yards. He led a Clark County ground game that notched 312 yards on 50 carries.
"It was for Mykal," Reese said, "and we came out and played. "
The ground game helped offset a load of Cardinal penalties — 15 for 128 yards.
Darius Skinner, who caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Dini in the second quarter, took over at quarterback in the second half because Dini was dehydrated. Skinner completed two of four passes for 12 yards and ran five times for 38 yards.
Columbia said Skinner made "a couple of heads-up plays where the pass wasn't there and he just takes off up the middle and gets some big plays."
The Cards stumbled briefly before taking control.
A 20-point second quarter lifted Clark from a 12-6 deficit to a 26-12 lead at halftime.
Dini connected with Skinner on a slant pass for a 20-yard game-tying TD with 9:18 left in the half.
Thirteen seconds later, Andrew Guerrero recovered a Bryan Station fumble on the Defenders' 11-yard line.
Harris took a bubble-screen pass for seven yards, then ran it into the end zone from four yards out. Dini's kick — the first successful PAT attempt by either team — gave the Cards a 19-12 lead with 8:19 left.
Clark had a punt return to the end zone wiped out by a holding penalty, but went on to score anyway. The Cardinals drove 45 yards, capped by Dini's 2-yard sneak with 2:04 left in the half.
Bryan Station led 6-0 and 12-6, scoring first on Michael Winkler's 29-yard pass to Loran Smith and later on Ledarius Jackson's 35-yard run.
Clark's first-quarter score was a 43-yard scamper by Harris, who took a pitch wide to the right side and then cut against the grain.
The Cards might have done more damage in the half, but hurt themselves with 11 penalties for 81 yards.
Bryan Station threatened late in the half, reaching the Clark 26-yard line before Harris intercepted a pass.
The Defenders did pull to within 26-18 when Jeff Hardin returned the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. But the Cardinals took it from there, getting Harris TD runs of 10 and 39 yards, plus a six-yard TD pass from Skinner to Corey Rogers.
Bryan Station 12 0 6 0—18
Clark County 6 20 7 13—46
BS—Loran Smith 29 pass from Michael Winkler (kick blocked); CC—Pokey Harris 43 run (kick failed); BS—Ledarius Smith 35 run (pass failed); CC—Darius Skinner 20 pass from Andrew Dini (kick failed); CC—Harris 4 run (Dini kick); CC—Dini 2 run (Kyle Kinder kick); BS—Jeff Hardin 94 kickoff return (run failed); CC—Harris 10 run (Kinder kick); CC—Harris 39 run (Kinder kick); CC—Corey Rogers 6 pass from Skinner (run failed).