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Indians' late rally falls short at Hamilton County

  • Johnston City runs a play during Friday night's game in McLeansboro.

    Johnston City runs a play during Friday night's game in McLeansboro.
    Halle McBride Photo

 
BY JIMMY DEAN
Contributing Writer
updated: 9/2/2018 10:58 PM

MCLEANSBORO -- Trailing 18-0 at the half, Johnston City could have very well folded its tepee and packed it in for the remaining two quarters.

Instead, the Tribe battled back, scoring two second-half touchdowns while shutting out Hamilton County, and put itself in position for a win.

The Indians fell just short in losing a tough 18-14 game to the Foxes despite the effort of fullback Dylan Fisher, who scored 14 of Johnston City's points.

"I'm proud of our kids," said Johnston City head coach Todd Thomas. "They kicked our butt the first half, but we didn't quit and came out more physical in the second half."

Hamilton County looked like it was going to blow the game open during the first 24 minutes by dominating not only the score, but field position and time of possession.

The Foxes recovered a Johnston City fumble only a minute into the game. Two plays later, Jaxson Comstock scored from seven yards out.

Hamilton County used a stellar defense to keep the Indians off the scoreboard. Several crucial penalties by the Indians put 12 more points on the board in the second quarter for the Green and White.

After marching 57 yards, Garrett Webb scored with 5:46 to play in the half on a 3-yard run. The Foxes got the ball back two minutes later and scored again on a 50-yard pass play from Derrick Epperson to sophomore receiver Robbie Morgan to take an 18-0 lead at the break.

"I thought we played a very good first half. We ran the ball well and our line did a good job," said Hamilton County Coach Jeff Rush.

Enter Fisher for the second half.

The hard running senior carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards with most of the yards coming inside the hash marks.

Fisher scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run. He later scored on another 5-yard jaunt with 8:15 to go in the game. Dallas Johnson tacked on the two-point conversion to pull Johnston City to within four at 18-14.

Both teams had chances to score late in the game, but penalties stopped both teams' drives.

Dalton Frick had two interceptions from his defensive back position that thwarted Hamilton County drives.

"Johnston City put together some nice second-half drives. Their fullback (Fisher) ran downhill with power, and the wide receiver (freshman Austin Brown) made some nice catches," said Rush.

Johnston City fumbled the ball six times, losing one, but penalties were the real Achilles heel for the Tribe as they had eight miscues for 70 yards.

"We had a lot of backups playing tonight. We have to clean up some penalties, snaps and taking care of the ball, but I'm really proud that we battled back and didn't quit," said Thomas.

Hamilton County (1-1) will go on the road to Chester next week while Johnston City (0-2) will open its home season Friday night against Vienna-Goreville.