8/22/2013 3:00:00 PM First-ever Switzerland County football game is held versus Trimble County
Switzerland County Middle School kicked off a piece of history last Thursday night when the Pacers took on the Trimble County Raiders in the school's first-ever football game.
The score by the end of the contest saw Trimble County claim the victory by a score of 48-0, but the score didn't dampen the spirits of a large crowd that turned out to cheer on the Pacer faithful.
Even after solid practices under the tutelage of head coach Ryan Jesop and assistants Matt Levell, Zach Stewart, Dustin Bentz and other volunteers; there were some first-game jitters for the Pacer faithful, but there were also some sparks that the outlook is positive moving forward.
Quarterback Mike Gatto looked strong under center, using both his passing arm and his running legs to pick up some key first downs. Halfback Austin South also had some outstanding runs against a strong Raider defense; and
The game started with Trimble County kicking off to the Pacers, but a nice gain by Switzerland County's Austin Combs was negated by a penalty.
The Pacers couldn't get a long march going offensively, but Mike Gatto did connect with Kyle Whitham on a nice catch and run.
Switzerland County punter Kurtis Knight had a busy night; and the Pacer defense had to pay special notice to Trimble County's Steven Swanger, who had several long runs during the game.
Trimble County scored its first touchdown of the game on a 10-yard pass to Trimble County's Nick McCutchen; and the two-point conversion was good to make it 8-0.
Switzerland County's offensive got a jump start on the first play of the next drive when quarterback Mike Gatto ripped off a 15-yard gain; but the drive stumbled from there, and after a nice Pacer punt; Trimble County went back to work near midfield.
Steven Swanger took a pitch around the left side for a big gain, all the way down to the Trimble County 14-yard line; and Resse Poe then took a pitch to the right and scored the game's second touchdown. A pass to Nick McCutchen was good for the two-point conversion, and with about a minute to play in the opening quarter, Trimble County was ahead 16-0.
Trimble County was off sides on the kickoff, and that gave the Pacers better field position. Mike Gatto picked up two on a quarterback keeper, and that brought the first quarter to a close.
The second quarter got started with an incomplete pass; and after a couple of penalties, Switzerland County got a quick-punt from Mike Gatto, giving Trimble County the ball on the 30. The Raiders then had an intentional grounding call; and Trimble County was then called for an illegal block in the back.
Switzerland County defenders Gage Jones then had an outstanding open field tackle after a Trimble County pass, and the Raiders were forced to punt.
The Pacers suffered from some bad snaps and some ill-timed penalties, but the offense kept working hard throughout the game. A swing pass from Mike Gatto to Austin South failed to convert the first down; and after the Pacer punter mishandled the snap, Trimble County took over on the Pacer 22 yard line.
Steven Swanger then ran it all the way down to the four yard line on the first play; and moments later finished the job, giving the Raiders a 22-0 advantage. Steven Swanger then ran in the two-point conversion attempt, and the score moved to 24-0 with 2:54 to play in the half.
The Pacers returned the kickoff to the 33-yard line; and Austin South broke free on an inside hand-off for a gain of 12 to give Switzerland County a first down and keep the offense driving as the half wound down. Mike Gatto then connected with Tyler Lyon on a pass that took the ball down to the Raider 33-yard line - the deepest offensive penetration of the game for the Pacers.
But Switzerland County couldn't keep the momentum, and the half ended with the Raiders up by a 24-0 score.
Trimble County took the opening kickoff and got it's offense moving again. Halfback Steven Swanger continued his outstanding game, and his 26-yard run capped the opening drive and gave the Raiders a 30-0 lead.
The Pacer defense then held from there, denying the extra point attempt.
Neither team got much going for much of the remainder of the quarter, but with just over three minutes to play, Switzerland County quarterback Mike Gatto was sacked in the end zone for a safety; and the resulted two points gave Trimble County a 32-0 advantage.
The free kick after the safety saw Trimble County run the kick all the way down to the Pacer 14-yard line; and after Joe Pollack ran the ball down to the two-yard line, the Raiders gave the ball right back to him, and he ran it in for a 38-0 lead. He also ran in the two-point conversion, and with 2:12 to play in the quarter, the Raiders held a 40-0 lead.
Tyler Lyon had a good kickoff return after the touchdown, putting the Pacer offense in good position, but again Switzerland County couldn't execute; and was again forced to punt.
Switzerland County's defense held early in the possession, bringing the third quarter to a close.
The final quarter opened with Trimble County gaining 12 yards on a running play; and the final score of the game came when the Raiders' ran it in from the five-yard line with 4:37 to go in the game; and again the Pacer defense held, denying the two-point conversion.
Eyan Peelman did have a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter to highlight the defense.
The Middle School team returns to action on Thursday, September 5th, when they travel to Carroll County for a 6 p.m. contest. The Pacers then play at Madison on Wednesday, September 11th at 5:30 p.m.; and come home to play Carroll County on Thursday, September 26th at 6 p.m. The team's final game will be at Gallatin County on Thursday, October 3rd at 6 p.m.
The Pacer freshman football team opens its season on Thursday, August 29th at Milan at 6 p.m.; and then opens its home season on Saturday, September 7th, versus Lawrenceburg at 7 p.m. The freshmen then travel to Batesville on Thursday, September 12th, at 6 p.m.; and close their season at home against Carroll County on Saturday, September 21st at 7 p.m.