Big fourth quarter leads Pacers to 15-12 win over Gallatin County
It took awhile for the Switzerland County Pacer varsity football team to get rolling on Friday night, but a trip across the river to take on Gallatin County ended up a success as the Pacers closed fast and emerged with a 15-12 victory.
The win runs Switzerland County’s record to 2-0 on the young season heading into tomorrow (Friday) night’s showdown at home with Trimble County.
Coming off a big home win over Crawford County to open the season, the Pacers on their first road trip took awhile to get rolling, not scoring until the fourth quarter — but the defense came up big again, limiting the Wildcats to bad field position and coming up with key turnover to keep things close.
The Wildcats got a long return on the opening kickoff to put Gallatin County in solid early field position; but the Switzerland County defense held strong and the ball was turned over on downs. The Pacer offense couldn’t get on track, and punted the ball back to Gallatin County, who began another trek down the field.
That series was squashed when Pacer Tre Batchelor picked up a key interception on Gallatin County’s 21 yard line with 2:28 left in the first quarter — but again Switzerland County couldn’t capitalize, and the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie.
Gallatin County opened the scoring midway through the second quarter when the Wildcat tailback converted a 15-yard run into six points; but in an odd stretch, Gallatin County was called for illegal procedure five times as they attempted to kick the extra point, moving the ball back 25 yards and forcing the Wildcats into trying a trick play for a two-point conversion — but that was sniffed out by the Pacers and was no good, and with 8:14 left Gallatin County held a 6-0 lead.
Switzerland County’s offense began to find its footing at that point, and started a long drive that took them deep into Wildcat territory, and it looked like the Pacers were set up for their first score of the evening. Going for a first down on a fourth down play, however, Switzerland County was the victim of a questionable spot by the officials, and the measurement came up short, giving Gallatin County possession with 5:15 left.
The Wildcats used a lot of misdirection runs to methodically move the ball down the field, but as Gallatin County looked to strike again before the half, but again Switzerland County’s defense rose up, as Nick Gatto picked up a big interception to close the half with the score still standing at 6-0 in favor of the hosts.
Switzerland County received the second half kickoff, but couldn’t put together a drive; and was followed by both teams putting up big defensive efforts through most of the third stanza.
With 59-seconds remaining in the third, Gallatin County got loose again, and the Wildcats scored their second touchdown of the game on a 10-yard scamper. The two-point conversion was good, and when the third period closed, Gallatin County was on top by a score of 12-0.
With just 12 minutes remaining to try and salvage a win, Coach Ryan Jesop lit a fire under his offense as the final quarter got underway — and his troops responded, as quarterback Damion Courter connected with Lucas Hutchninson on a 45-yard pass that resulted in a Switzerland County touchdown with 10:59 left in the game. The point after try by kicker JW Goldsberry was good, and the Pacers had quickly cut into the deficit with most of the quarter left to play.
Again the Pacer defense — continuing its strong performance — came up big, stone walling the Wildcat offense and igniting a big momentum shift in forcing Gallatin County to punt.
The offense fed off of the energy, moving the ball downfield, and with 5:45 to go, a big pass from Courter to Hunter Records got Switzerland County close, and a four-yard run by Dathan Brown put the Pacers in front, 13-12. On the two-point conversion, Courter hit Records in the end zone, and Switzerland County pushed its lead to 15-12.
Gallatin County was rattled, and moments after receiving the ensuring kickoff, the Wildcats fumbled the ball and was recovered by the Pacers — fueling the momentum even more.
Even though that recovery didn’t lead to points, it did eat up valuable clock, and when Gallatin County tried to mount one last offensive push, Hutchinson stepped in front of a pass and made the interception, and then wove his way through Wildcat defenders for a long return that sealed the win.
A couple of victory formation kneels by Courter, and the final horn sounded with Switzerland County on top, 15-12.