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Five weeks ago, the LaRue County Hawks were 2-4 following a loss to Warren East. They had lost three straight and things weren’t looking so great for the boys from Hodgenville.
After Friday night’s 49-7 dismantling of the visiting Washington County Commanders, the Hawks are riding a wave of momentum into the Class 3-A playoffs.
They’ve reeled off three wins in their last four games to finish the regular season 5-5, a mark that didn’t appear attainable after Warren East won, 38-7 on Sept. 21.
Just look at the Hawks now. LaRue County raced out to a 42-0 lead before the Commanders got on the board late in the fourth quarter.
LaRue County, which has won 12 of the last 13 meetings, amassed 322 rushing yards. Freshman Marquis Franklin had a team-high 77 yards and a touchdown on four carries, while senior Matthew Hornback added 73 yards and score on 16 attempts.
LaRue County scored two touchdowns on its first three plays in the first quarter. After forcing a punt, Hornback capped a two-play drive with a 10-yard scoring run. Senior Caleb Canter set up the touchdown with his 52-yard run on the previous play on his only carry of the game.
A bad snap on a punt led to the Hawks’ second touchdown. On fourth down from the 39-yard line, the snap sailed over the punter’s head. The punter picked the ball up and tried to run, but the Hawks stopped him at the 5. Ford scored on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
Ford’s second TD – a 9-yard run with 9:26 left in the second quarter – made it 21-0, but the Hawks hit a lull. They turned the ball over on downs and threw an interception on their final two drives of the first half.
LaRue County got a jolt to start the third quarter when junior Dalton Lawson returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
Lawson, who also scored on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter, said the Hawks were expecting the Commanders (2-8) to try an onside kick.
Senior quarterback Gabe Shirley’s 17-yard scoring run extended LaRue County’s lead to 35-0 with 8:02 left in the third, before Franklin broke loose for a 49-yard TD run in the fourth.
Washington County put together a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive in the fourth, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Morgan Churchill with 6:11 left to play.
UP NEXT: LaRue County hosts Corbin (5-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of the Class 3-A playoffs.