Jackets fall to Clay in Gridorama

Published 5:45 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

Middlesboro showed promise during their outing in the SEKC Gridorama on Friday. Despite falling 19-14 to Clay County, coaches got the opportunity to see the team in action just one week prior to the official start of the season.

Jacket coach Zach Massengill said he saw both good things and bad things during the scrimmage.

“I saw somethings as far as offensively that I was pleased with. We made too many mistakes still, putting the ball on the ground. We’ve got to clean up some assignments on both sides of the ball,” said Massengill. “Defensively, we just got to do a better job tackling. We had people around the ball. The defensive line I thought was a huge plus. I thought our fullback and quarterback ran the ball really well.

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“We tried to see what we had up front, and I thought the big guys provided some holes and did their job up front. So, (there is) a lot to clean up. It’s going to take a whole lot better effort next (against Bell County). Overall, I saw a lot of good.”

Middlesboro showcased their ability to run the ball tallying 146 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while the varsity team was on the field. Quarterback Rhyan Rogers paced the team with 81 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

“(Rhyan Rogers) has a lot on his plate, and tonight was his first live look since his injury. He got rattled a little early, but he settled down. He had a really nice night leading us,” said Massengill. “We’re looking for big things out of him, and I think the backs did a good job on their fakes to take a little pressure off of him and opening some holes.”

Freshman Seth Huff powered his way to 50 yards on four carries and sophomore Caleb Bogonko ended the night with 14 yards and one touchdown on three carries. Senior Trey Watkins finished with 11 yards on two carries.

John Gilbert put Clay County on the board first with a 4-yard scamper to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 10:57 remaining in the half.

Middlesboro answered quickly on the ensuing possession. A 15-yard run by Rogers gave way to a 17-yard run by Huff. Two plays later, Bogonko scored on a 9-yard carry. The two-point conversion by Rogers put Middlesboro ahead 8-7.

Clay County returned the favor driving 65 yards in eight plays. The drive was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Chandler Hacker to give the Tigers a 13-8 lead with just over seven minutes to play.

A fumble by the Jackets on their next drive resulted in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Gilbert to Dominique Hubbard to increase the Tiger lead to 19-8 with 4:38 remaining in the half.

The two teams played the final quarter with a 20-minute running clock.

After holding Clay County on the opening drive, it was all Rogers. After being dropped for a loss on the second play of the drive, the senior quarterback turned a broken play into a 45-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 19-14 with 16 minutes remaining in the game.

It was the final time the varsity team saw the field as the remainder of the game was played by the junior varsity. Neither team was able to score from that point forward.

Up Next

Middlesboro will open the season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when they host Bell County.

Clay County begins their season on the road as they travel to Lincoln County to take part in the PBK Death Valley Bowl.