Labor Day weekend was not a relaxing one for the Woodford County High School football team, as they lost 43-13 to Franklin County. The Yellow Jackets have not beaten the Flyers since 2008 in what has recently become a rather lopsided rivalry with the Flyers winning the last eight by an average of 20 points. Perhaps the most frustrating part for Woodford head coach Dennis Johnson’s squad is that the team was in the game for three quarters before an implosion in the final frame. “I didn’t think it was our best outing,” said Coach Johnson. “We had way too many penalties and on O we have to give our-self a better chance to move the ball. We had a lot of missed assignments that hurt us. “Our defense is close to being really good,” continued Coach Johnson. “Our D coaches have done a good job. A few of the scores we have given up in the 4th quarter is because our D is on the field too long. We have tochange the time of possession around so we don’t keep our D on the field three-auarters of the game.” The first half was competitive according to both the scoreboard and the eye test. The first Flyers’ drive was aided by two crucial Yellow Jacket penalties that helped the Flyers reach the red zone. Franklin County running back Tre Simmons punched it in on a two-yard run with 6:41 to play in the first quarter to make it 6-0. Woodford trailed for almost a full quarter as the teams traded drives that would net zero points. Finally, there was a breakthrough as the Flyers punted from their own end zone. The punt netted just 16 yards, allowing Woodford to start the drive in the red zone. On second and 10, senior Domynik Johnson caught a swing pass from senior quarterback Malik Richards, broke one tackle, spun out of another, and scampered 17 yards for a touchdown to even the score. Jacob Wolford kicked the extra point and the Jackets led 7-6. “Domynik had a nice TD run,” said Coach Johnson. “He broke some tackles and got in the end zone. “Malik is getting better,” Coach Johnson continued. “We are going to shorten the playbook, so he can play faster and more efficient. We need to keep the ball in his hands and the more QB he plays, the better he will get.” Penalties continued to plague the Jackets in the first half, as they played key factors in the Flyers’ putting 14 points on the board in the final3:24 of the first half. One of those penalties was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Coach Johnson. Already, Woodford had been called for eight penalties, many of which were considered questionable by the Yellow Jackets’ sideline. Both Franklin County touchdowns were scored on runs by quarterback Jeremiah Green as the Flyers went into the half leading 20-7. Early in the third quarter, the Jackets put themselves in position for a late run as Richards found the end-zone on a three-yard run to cut the lead to 20-13. Later in the quarter, the Jackets were driving once again, crossing midfield and working their way into hostile territory. However, Richards fumbled the ball at the Franklin County 45-yard line complicating the comeback effort. The ensuing Franklin County drive was more of a flight, as Denzel Vance exploded for a 55 yard run on the final play of the third quarter to extend the Flyers’ lead to 27-13. Just as quickly as the Flyers found the end zone, Woodford did as well – in the wrong way. A holding penalty backed the offense up, and a bad snap sailed out of the end zone for a safety to run the Franklin County lead up to 29-13. Woodford’s struggles continued to mount as the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Woodford 35-yard line. Green found the end zone just six plays later to effectively clinch the game for Franklin County, 36-13. It was a run of 16 unanswered Flyers’ points in just 3:31 of actual game time that sealed Woodford’s fate. Franklin County’s running game continued to assert its dominance, as Simmons capped the night’s scoring off with a 33-yard run with just under four minutes left to play. The Flyers spent the night showing their ability as runners, racking up 273 rushing yards and earning themselves six rushing touchdowns. Penalties also were of real benefit, as Woodford surrendered 97 yards on 11 infractions. Next up, Woodford hosts Marion County this Friday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. “This week in practice we will evaluate our personnel on O,” said Coach Johnson. “I think there are a few changes we might make to put us in a better position to move the ball and put points on the board.” Coming off a game with West Jessamine on Friday, Aug. 26, that saw the Jackets run for 227 yards, the boys in black and gold only managed 71 yards on the ground in Frankfort. Even with 117 yards passing added in, the offense couldn’t break 200 total yards on the night. These are numbers that will need to rebound if Woodford expects to have success against Marion County. It has been a slippery stretch in this rivalry with the Flyers for the Yellow Jackets. In 2008, Woodford led the all-time series with Franklin County 20 wins to 12. However, Friday night’s loss evened the series at 20 wins each.
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