LOUISVILLE – Johnson County Central’s size in the trenches helped the Thunderbirds secure a road victory over Louisville Friday night.
JCC stopped the Lions 38-13 in Louisville’s Homecoming game. Several veteran linemen played key roles for the Thunderbirds on both offense and defense. They helped the team control the line of scrimmage for the majority of the game.
Louisville head coach Chase Rasby said he felt the team’s linemen gave their best efforts in the contest. They battled four JCC players who weighed more than 200 pounds. Seniors Aldo Reyes (255 pounds), Andruw Stafford (250) and Quentin Xayaphonesongkham (230) and sophomore Roberto Borboa (290) formed a formidable unit for the Thunderbirds.
“I’m very proud of our guys for the way they fought tonight,” Rasby said. “We have some younger guys up front and they worked their tails off the whole game. It came down to a matter of how big they were on the line. When they outweigh your guys by 120 pounds it can make a big difference, and they showed that tonight. JCC has some really good linemen on both sides of the ball.”
Johnson County Central (1-1) began the game with a 71-yard scoring drive that ended with Eli Waring’s 12-yard rollout pass to Uriel Cabrales. The team doubled the gap when Levi Dorsey ran 45 yards untouched into the end zone with 4:46 left in the period.
Louisville (1-1) chipped away at the 14-0 deficit with a drive that took nearly five minutes. Brady Knott ended the 77-yard series with a touchdown run from the 9-yard line. He barreled over several JCC defenders on his way into the end zone.
JCC regained a 20-7 lead with a short touchdown run by 195-pound fullback Sam Agena 5:35 before the break. Louisville then came close to turning the tide on the next drive. The team marched down to the 17-yard line with several running and passing plays with under a minute left.
Louisville threw a 17-yard touchdown pass with 24.5 seconds left, but a holding call erased the six points from the scoreboard. JCC’s Tucker Liberty then picked off a pass on the final play of the half. He returned it 90 yards for a 26-7 lead.
LHS began to grab momentum in the second half after Dylan Jones intercepted a pass and returned it into JCC territory. Clayton Buck then connected with Ball on a 19-yard touchdown strike to make it 26-13. Louisville fans roared again when Tyler Mackling intercepted a tipped pass on JCC’s next series.
The Thunderbirds regained the upper hand from that point on. The team forced a three-and-out on Louisville’s next possession and then scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Both schools recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter before JCC tacked on a late touchdown.
Knott ran 20 times for 112 yards and one touchdown. Coby Buettner posted 31 yards on six carries and Ball gained 16 yards on ten attempts. Jones caught two passes for 29 yards and Ball had one catch for 19 yards.
Buettner led Louisville’s defense with three solo and seven assisted tackles. Jones made three solo and four assisted plays and Buck tallied two solo and five assisted tackles. Mackling chipped in two solo and three assisted tackles.
Jones and Mackling each made interceptions and Caleb Hrabik and Buettner each recovered JCC fumbles. Reed Toelle made six assisted tackles, Knott had four assisted tackles and Cordale Moxey posted two solo and two assisted stops.
Rasby said the Lions could leave the field with their heads held high. He was optimistic about the team’s chances for success in future games.
“I think we improved tonight,” Rasby said. “When you go against a team like JCC it’s a really good measuring stick, and I think we got better in a lot of areas from game one to game two. We didn’t get the result we wanted on the scoreboard, but we made a lot of progress and the guys kept fighting until the end. We can take a lot of good things away from this game.”
Johnson County Central 14 12 0 12 – 38
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Louisville 0 7 6 0 – 13
JCC – Cabrales 12 pass from Waring (Froese kick), 10:13
JCC – Dorsey 45 run (Froese kick), 4:46
LHS – Knott 11 run (Ahl kick), 11:54
JCC – Dorsey 11 run (run no good), 8:26
JCC – Agena 2 run (run no good), 5:35
JCC – Liberty 90 interception return (run no good), 0:00
LHS – Ball 19 pass from Buck (kick blocked), 8:32
JCC – Dorsey 25 pass from Waring (kick no good), 11:42
JCC – Ortiz 20 pass from Holthus (run no good), 0:41