by Andrew Hatton
CVT Sports Writer
Estill County defeated Jackson County on Friday night by a score of 48-6. The victory over the Generals advances the Engineers to the second round of the Class 3A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl.
From the opening kickoff, things did not look good for the visiting Generals. An attempted onside kick resulted in the craziest play of the night. The kick from the 40-yard line went forward two yards and then rolled backward five. The result was a net kick of -3 yards, giving Estill the ball on the Generals’ 37-yard line.
Four plays later, Dawson Bingham scampered into the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown carry for his first of three touchdowns. The Engineers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back.
Jackson County looked dangerous on offense with their first play from scrimmage going for 45 yards through the air. But after not gaining another yard on their following three plays, the next play would result in an interception courtesy of Estill’s Blake Francisco.
The Engineers would turn that opportunity into six points with an 80-yard touchdown run from Bingham. The Estill senior would finish with 149 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries.
Francisco would then get in on the scoring action for the Engineers. After a 16-yard touchdown run, he would grab his second interception of the game on Jackson’s next possession. Francisco would then turn that into six after muscling it in from the one-yard line.
Bingham and Francisco would finish up their offensive night with each grabbing their third touchdown to close out the first half. Francisco’s third, a 42-yard carry, was his longest of the night.
Estill finished the first half with a 41-0 lead. In high school football, once a 35-point advantage is gained, the teams play with a running clock to move the game along and keep scores reasonable. This meant the Engineers could put it in cruise control for the second half.
On Estill’s first play of their first possession of the second half, Logan Beckler would score the Engineers’ final touchdown of the night with a 35-yard run. Beckler finished the night with 73 yards on seven carries.
Overall, Estill would have 10 different ball carriers rush for a total of 380 yards. The Engineer defense matched that performance, holding Jackson to -4 rushing yards and 140 passing yards on the night.
Jackson County had been averaging over 240 yards rushing a game on the season. Running back Myles Hurst had just come off a 400-yard rushing game just two weeks prior against Bell County. Hurst managed just 34 yards against Estill.
The Generals would score their only touchdown in garbage time with six minutes remaining in the game. They join Estill’s previous three opponents in narrowly avoiding the shutout. Estill has outscored opponents 208-33 over that four game stretch.
Estill now must prepare for their second round matchup against the Casey County Rebels. The Rebels are 9-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to Corbin, one of the best teams in the state.
Casey defeated Powell County on Friday by a score of 48-12. By comparison, Estill defeated the Pirates, 48-26, in Powell County back on Sept. 23.
The Engineers host the Rebels on Friday Nov. 11, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. at Hoover Niece Field.