Central High School football traveled to Winchester on Friday, August 22, to start the 2019 season against Franklin County. The Red Raiders battled through heavy rain and kept it close through three quarters, but could not keep up down the stretch in a 42-20 loss.
"I'm proud of how hard we played, we kind of ran out of gas at the end," Coach Doug Greene said. "We made a lot of mistakes. We had three big plays that were denied because we were jumped off sides. We made some bad decisions here and there, but effort was good."
Down 28-20 at the end of the third quarter, CHS gave up three touchdowns in the fourth to push the game out of reach.
Despite the late-game struggles, Greene remained optimistic about the direction the team was headed.
"We're in excellent condition, it's not that. We just need to have some more guys be able to fill in and play more downs," Greene explained. "We'll get some of these injuries back which will help and we've got a couple guys we've moved around, especially on the defensive line, that will help us out."
The Raiders were the first to get on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter. Kelvin Verge intercepted Franklin County's Riley Ingle at the Rebels' own 24 yard line to give CHS excellent field position. After quarterback Conner Shemwell connected with Collin Ward for a 14-yard pickup, Shemwell ran the last four yards to the end zone. The extra point made it a 7-0 CHS lead.
Franklin County got on the board with just over two minutes left in the first half to make it a 7-7 game at halftime.
After the Rebels' Dakota Waggoner broke off for a 52-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, the Raiders responded with two quick touchdowns.
The first came with 7:52 on the clock, when Shemwell punched into the endzone at the one-yard line. The touchdown capped off a drive that started at the CHS 20.
Tied at 14, Verge had another interception on the following Franklin County possession to set the Raiders up at the Rebel six-yard line. CJ Anthony took a pass from Shemwell to the end zone to make it a 20-14 CHS lead.
A missed extra point on Anthony's touchdown hurt the Raiders later on. On the last play of the third quarter, Franklin County quarterback Isaiah Sisk broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown run. The ensuing extra point put the Rebels back in front 21-20 to start the fourth quarter.
CHS was unable to regain the lead or add another touchdown.
"We've got to execute more consistently. We stalled three drives ourselves, we should've had 21 points in the first half," Greene said. "Stuff like that, we've just got to clean up."