Two light towers at Boone County’s Owen Hauck Stadium failed Friday night, forcing the Rebels’ home game against the visiting Scott Eagles to be delayed on Saturday morning. The game stalled on Friday with Scott leading 13-7, with the ball on third down and fifteen yards to go from his own 33-yard line.
It was determined that the game could be picked up in daylight on Saturday morning, but even then the game was not without its technical challenges. The scoreboard did not show the game time, so the referees kept the time on the field.
Boone Co. scored a touchdown Saturday and held the Eagles scoreless to win, 14-13. The Rebels are now 2-0 while Scott drops to 0-2.
“We look for opportunities to improve our program and we’ve built tremendous character here and that’s what happened,” Boone County head coach Bryson Warner said. “It’s not easy to do what we did and it’s not easy for Scott. We give Scott a lot of credit. They came out here, they fought and they played a good game. (They are) much improved. We have great coaches and we were able to come here and give our best.”
Scott outscored Boone County 234-214 in total offense, including 169-127 on the ground and had 17 first downs to nine for the Mavericks. The Rebels showed better balance passing the ball for 87 yards compared to the Eagles’ 65.
The slight difference in scoring came in point after touchdown attempts. The Rebels made both kicks for extra points while the Eagles made one and didn’t convert on a two-point conversion.
“That’s what it is: one play here and one play there,” said Eric Turner, Scott’s head coach. “They made more plays than us. It was a little distraction for us to have to go back. But we felt like we were ready to play.”
The game-winning score came with 9:12 left in the game. Boone County senior Tyler Whipple took a screen pass from junior quarterback Jamarius Hocker to the left near the Boone County sideline, turned the corner and rushed 57 yards for the touchdown. Junior Ahmed Abdulahi kicked the important extra point for what turned out to be the final score.
“We were on twins on the left side and Jamar made a great read like the great quarterback that he is,” Whipple said. “There was no one under pressure. There were only two locks. The other wide receiver made a great holding block. All he had to do was stiffen his arm and he went to the house.”
The Rebels have had success running the ball with multiple running backs so far this season. Senior running back Braden McCarty led Boone County with nine carries for 54 yards. Hocker scored from two yards in the first quarter to cut Scott’s lead to 13-7.
“We have an incredible skill set,” McCarty said. “Our athletic core just hits the ball down the field and does it.”
Hocker also completed some big passes going 3-for-6 for 87 yards. Senior tight end James Graves had the other two receptions for Boone County for 30 yards, including an 18-yard tilt in the third quarter to put the Rebels at Scott 10 on 4 and 7.
Boone County nearly scored in that series. McCarty ran eight yards to Scott 2 before junior running back Seth Moran gained another yard on the next play. But the Eagles’ defense made a big play when senior Nolan Hunter recovered a Boone County fumble on a high snap on Scott 17 with about 4:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Scott found success thanks to his shotgun offense with senior running back Bennie Hill. Hill rushed for 137 yards on 22 carries and scored the game’s first touchdown from 2 yards in the first quarter while averaging just over six yards per carry.
“We have to lean on Bennie Hill. He knows it and we know it too,” Turner said. “He can really carry the rock and he has in the first two games. We’ll continue to do that and continue to work on our passing game by buckling some stuff in there. We feel that we are very close. We just haven’t gotten there yet.”
The Eagles know the passing game has to improve to win. Senior quarterback Dasani Lane completed 4 of 11 passes for 65 yards and a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior Dylan Giffen in the first quarter to put the Eagles up 13-0. Giffen led Scott with three catches for 49 yards.
Mistimed interceptions hurt the Eagles in this loss. The first came in the series after the Boone County scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels began the next drive at their own 45-yard line after a block on the rear penalty kick moved the ball back. The Rebels headed to the Eagle 40. But on a 3 and 7, the Rebels fumbled and Giffen got it back on the Scott 42.
“Ball safety is always the most important thing in the game of football as far as deciding the game,” Warner said. “Last week, we had none. We didn’t do so well this week. But Scott was flying. (The Eagles) were energized. They are a very good football team. They are going to win a lot of matches this year. They are well trained, so it was exciting to win a game against another very good soccer program.”
After a delay in game penalty and a losing tackle, Lane completed a 19-yard pass to Giffen for 33 yards to the Boone County 34. After an incomplete pass, senior running back Noah Haynes intercepted a pass from Lane with about 2:18 left in the game.
The Rebels had some key tackles for a loss in both series that forced the Eagles into second-and-long situations. Junior defensive end Andrew Leibfarth had one on Scott’s last possession and senior defensive lineman Kaden Tanner had one on the play before Whipple’s interception.
“This is manual labor,” Leibfarth said. “He helped us get the ball back. It felt great to get this win.”
The Rebels ran out of time behind their offensive line. Hocker broke free for a 27-yard run to Scott’s 37-yard line to seal the deal at 2 and 10.
“The (offensive) line did a good job opening holes,” Hocker said. “I just need a little daylight. I am not the fastest. But I make it. I do my best to make sure our team wins the game at the end of the day, no matter what.”
Boone County heads to Holmes (1-1) on Friday looking for his first 3-0 start since 2011. Scott faces Holy Cross (1-1) on Thursday at 7 p.m.