Junior running back Hunter Griffin caught a 44-yard touchdown from senior quarterback Caleb Sheffer with 1:17 left in the game Friday night to lift the LaRue County Hawks to a 33-28 win over the visiting Hart County Raiders.
Griffin’s catch capped off an 80-yard play drive after Hart County (0-2) had gone up 28-27 with 3:07 left on sophomore fullback Brian Simmons’ 9-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Josh Shoulders. It was also five plays after the Hawks began the drive with a 50-yard pass from Sheffer to senior tight end Koy Lindsey, but Lindsey was credited for only 21 yards on the play because of a block in the back.
LaRue County thought it had gone up 35-28 with a two-point conversion, but officials ruled junior end Colby Skaggs’ knee was down. It didn’t matter though as on the ensuing kickoff, Hawks junior kicker Chase Watson — making his debut as he doubles as a starter on the soccer team — planned to do a squib kick and it banged off a Hart County player, recovered by Hawks senior Matt Senesi.
The Raiders still had two timeouts left, but the Hawks ran the Raiders out of time as Griffin (eight carries, 51 yards) had a 13-yard run and junior Marquis Franklin (18, 117), who missed last year’s game with a preseason ankle sprain, added an 8-yard run.
Sheffer, a basketball standout in his first season on the football team, was 4-of-7 passing for 92 yards. His other three completions went to Lindsey, who had 48 receiving yards, 12 coming on a touchdown pass with 7:53 left in the first half.
Senesi’s fumble recovery was the second by the Hawks’ special teams. The first came with 4:08 left in the third quarter as Hart County had a punt bounce off one of its linemen’s backs and sophomore Dalton Hornback recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point failed, but the Hawks extended their lead to 27-14.
The Hawks also lost two fumbles — both in the third quarter.
LaRue County finished with 190 rushing yards on 42 carries. Junior fullback Damarcus McCray, who was injured in the first series of last year’s loss at Hart County, had seven carries for 44 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run with 40.4 seconds left in the second quarter. Watson’s extra point sent the Hawks into halftime up 21-14.
Hart County senior running back Darren Lynn had game highs in carries (27) and yards (202). On the game’s first play, Lynn cut to the right for a 65-yard touchdown. He had eight carries for 8 yards or more.