• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Jackets’ football mid-season recap; prepare for districts

CLAYTON BERGER had a number of good kick returns for the Woodford County High School football team against Franklin County on Friday, Sept. 2. To date, the freshman has returned three kicks for 99 yards for a 33.0 return average. His longest was 43 yards. (Photo by Rick Capone

The Woodford County High School football team enjoyed a bye week last Friday following a tough 42-0 loss at Madison Central on Friday, Sept. 23. The two-week break comes at a crucial moment in the season for the Yellow Jackets because over the next three weeks they face their three district opponents. It begins this Friday, Oct. 7, at Anderson County, then continues on Friday, Oct. 14, at home against Madison Southern, followed by Montgomery County at home on Oct. 21. Every game Woodford wins in that three-game stretch will help them with postseason seeding. But, they are all tough opponents and Woodford needs to be on their game if they hope to win. With the bye week here, it seemed like a good time to recap what the Yellow Jackets have done so far this season. At the moment, Woodford is 3-3. The Jackets began the season with three road games. The first was at North Bullitt on Aug. 19, where they lost 20-0. Then they bounced back on Aug. 26, at West Jessamine and won 28-14. They closed out those three games at Franklin County on Sept. 2, where they lost 43-13, which gave them a 1-2 record. Woodford then had two home games and dominated the competition. The first game was on Sept. 9 against Marion County, where they fell behind early by two touchdowns, but then regrouped and came back to win 32-20. Unfortunately, they also lost their starting quarterback at the time, sophomore Ryan Duke, which forced the Yellow Jackets to change strategy and put senior Malik Richards in the game. The next home game was on Sept. 16 against Nelson County with senior quarterback Malik Richards now taking the snaps. and behind the running of seniors Domynik Johnson and Dwayne “D” Depp, the Yellow Jackets won 29-0 in a game that ended at halftime due to lightening. With those games complete, Woodford was 3-2 and seemed poised to take on any team they faced. However, the next week, Sept. 23, the Yellow Jacket team that had played so well against their two previous opponents was nowhere to be found, as they lost to Madison Central, 42-0, which evened their record at 3-3 going into the bye week. Looking at the stats, Woodford is close to its opponents in many categories. In first downs, Woodford has 74 to its opponents’ 77. In rushing yards per game, Woodford leads its opponent 150.3 yards/game to 134.2 yards/game. However, in passing yards per game, Woodford has 516 yards to its opponents’ 726 yards, while in third down conversions, Woodford is 19 of 65, while opponents have been 20 for 68, and in time of possession, Woodford has had the ball 115.40 minutes to its opponents’ 149.20 minutes. One other key stat is red zone play. Woodford has scored nine out of 17 times (53 percent) to its opponents have scored 12 out of 17 times (71 percent). What has cost the Yellow Jackets the most have been turnovers and mistakes, which have allowed their opponents to score. Individually, Johnson leads the team in rushing so far with 393 yards on 40 carries and five touchdowns. Right behind him is senior quarterback Malik Richards, who has 235 yards on 79 carries and three touchdowns, and Depp with 138 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. In passing, Richards has 33 completions in 77 throws for 321 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Duke has also gotten back into the mix and is 12 of 13 for 145 yards and one touchdown. Depp leads the team in pass receiving. He has 10 receptions for 158 yards and one touchdown, while Johnson has eight receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns and Richards has five receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. On kickoff returns, freshman Clayton Berger has been a nice surprise. He’s had three returns for 99 yards, with his longest being a 26-yard return. Depp is right behind him with four returns for 52 yards, with his longest being 26 yards. In the kicking game, senior Jacob Wolford leads the team with five points, as he has made five of nine point after attempts. Scoring-wise, Richards and Johnson lead the team with 36 points each, while Depp has 18 points, senior Ben Bruckner had five points and Zack Zeefe, another kicker, has one point. Going into this week’s first district game against Anderson County, Woodford has had two weeks to prepare for the Bearcats. The key to the game will be which of the two Woodford County teams show up – the one that defeated Marion County and Nelson County handily, or the one that couldn’t get anything started against Madison Central. Woodford fans will find out this Friday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m.

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