Junior Alex Cook kicked a 24-yard field goal with 53 seconds left to lift the LaRue County Hawks to a 17-14 homecoming night win Friday against the Warren East Raiders.
LaRue County (3-3) took a 7-0 lead in the opening 7 minutes thanks to a 7-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Drew Newberry and an extra point from Cook, but the Raiders (4-2) scored with 53 seconds left in the first quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Burns to Christian Flores. Burns hooked up with Flores for the conversion to give the Raiders an 8-7 lead and Warren East didn’t trail again until Cook’s second career field goal.
LaRue County senior halfback Cody Thompson carried the ball 13 times for 104 yards to record his fifth 100-yard game this season. Junior running back Gabe Shirley had 62 yards on seven carries and his 24-yard touchdown run and Cook’s extra point tied the score at 14 with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
Newberry, who suffered an ankle injury Sept. 9 against Green County, added 59 yards on 17 carries.
“They had Drew’s number. They were keying on him and it was hard to get him loose,” said veteran LaRue County coach Rodney Armes.
Senior quarterback Slade Owens completed 2-of-3 passes for 58 yards without being intercepted.
“We completed a few passes. We tripled our passing yardage for the year in one game,” Armes said with a laugh. “I doubt we’ll go to the spread next week, but we’re getting there now.”
It was the second time in a week Cook helped the Hawks beat a Warren East sports team. On Wednesday, Cook had four goals and one assist as LaRue County beat Warren East, 7-1 in soccer action in the fourth annual Barren County Trojan Classic.
Warren East had one more chance to win after Cook’s kick, but LaRue County senior Taylor Albert batted down a pass on fourth-and-6. Albert also had a sack on the last play of the Hawks’ 27-24 home win Aug. 26 against Shelby County.
Armes was pleased with the way his team continued to fight, especially since he has admitted on more than one occasion to hating playing on homecoming night.
“I’ll be honest with you, in my 16 years of head coaching, I think I’ve lost more homecoming games than I’ve won – although I don’t have the numbers in front of me,” Armes said. “I think it’s a big distraction. But these guys kept their heads, kept their cool and played hard between the lines, which is what it takes.”
Armes said the win was a big momentum boost going into the Hawks’ bye week this week. They return to action at home at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7 for their Class 4-A, District 3 opener against Henry County.
“I asked them at halftime: Do you want to spend two weeks thinking about a loss or do you want to do it thinking about a win?” Armes said. “It’s so much nicer to go into the bye week with a ‘W’. We’ll get some guys healed up and we’ll keep working. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’ll get there.”