Pacer gridders fall in opening game to Bracken County, 26-6

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The Switzerland County High School varsity football team kicked off its season last Friday night with a home game against the Bracken County (Kentucky) Polar Bears, and although the Pacer fell by a final score of 26-6, it was a much closer game than the final score indicated.

Coach Ryan Jesop’s Pacers are rebuilding after suffering heavy losses to graduation last year, but there are still some key components in place that provide optimism for another solid season.

After falling into a quick 6-0 hole after the opening kickoff, Switzerland County steadied the ship; and on a key fourth down play in the first period, Switzerland County freshman quarterback Damion Courter found senior wide receiver Kenyon Bledsoe in the end zone, knotting the score at 6-6.

That’s how the first quarter ended, but with 9:49 to play in the half, Bracken County mounted a long drive that resulted in a short rushing touchdown. The following 2-point conversion was good, and the Polar Bears led by a score of 14-6.

On the ensuing drive, Courter’s pass was intercepted; but Bracken County couldn’t capitalize, as Pacer sophomore Tre Batchelor nabbed an interception of his own to give possession back to Switzerland County.

That’s how the rest of the half played out, and the teams went to the break with the Pacer down by just eight, 14-6.

The third quarter saw Bracken County find the end zone twice, but in both cases the visitors couldn’t covert the extra points, making the score 26-6 at the end of the third, and wrapping up the scoring for the night.

Overall on offense, Courter was 5-for-10 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions; and senior Kyle Whitham also took some snaps at quarterback, finishing 3-for-8 for 21 yards and an interception.

Whitham is also the key element to the Pacer rushing attack this year, and on Friday night he was bottled p for 22 yards on 11 attempts; while Courter finished with 10 yards rushing on three attempts; Dathan Brown had three yards rushing; and Trystan Kielbasa also added one rushing yard.

Receiving, Bledsoe led the way with 28 yards and a touchdown; while Courter had 25 years; Batchelor recorded 10 receiving yards; as did Brown.

On defense, Kielbasa showed no signs of letting down after his outstanding campaign last year, and on Friday he led the Pacers with nine tackles.

Isaac Slover had six tackles and two assists; Harrison Griffis had five tackles; Cameron Niswander had five tackles and assisted on four others; Batchelor had four tackles and an assist to go with his interception; and Brown had four tackles.

Logan Skaggs finished with four tackles and an assist; Courter had three tackles while playing defense; Brenon Smith and Zach Howlett each added three tackles and two assists; Dez Lange had two tackles and five assists; Pete Records added two tackles and an assist; Christian Wilson had a tackle; and both Eddie McCarty and Colbee Boatman added an assist.

The Pacers continue their season tomorrow (Friday) night when Switzerland County travels across the Ohio River to take on foe Gallatin County. That game is expected to kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Switzerland County returns home on Friday night, September 1st, to host Trimble County (Kentucky).