A key injury to their offensive line in the first quarter hindered Owensboro’s offensive momentum throughout the night, as they fell to Frederick Douglass 35-7 and their strong season came to a close.
After a nice defensive stand on Frederick Douglass’ first drive of the game, the Red Devils started to gain some ground and set themselves up with an early scoring opportunity
But plays later junior right tackle Trey Miller went down with an injury and had to be carted off the field. He would miss the rest of the game and his absence played a major role in the game’s result.
“We had a really critical injury early, [losing] our starting right tackle in Trey,” Head Coach Jay Fallin said. “It really was kind of like having two injuries. Because of where we’re at, we had to move our left guard out to right tackle, so it’s like having two new offensive lineman in the game and that really hurt.”
The Red Devils kept fighting though, creating some chances for themselves with solid drives and great defensive plays like an early interception from junior Kenyatta Carbon.
However, Miller not being there for rushing and pass protection began to affect the game. Carbon fumbled at the seven-yard line just under the eight-minute mark in the second quarter, giving the Broncos a chance to grab the first score of the game.
Frederick Douglass took advantage of the opportunity with a strong drive that included five straight plays for first downs. They capped off the drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown for junior Davaun Hart that gave them a 7-0 with 4:58 left in the first half.
With 3:02 left in the first half the Broncos got the ball back after forcing the Red Devils to punt and they made a strong push to score.
Sitting at the 53, a laser from senior quarterback Samuel Cornett connected with junior Cameron Dunn down the left sideline and took it to the crib for a touchdown and 14-0 lead going into halftime.
The Red Devils came out of the locker room strong, putting together a solid drive to start the third quarter by converting on fourth down twice to get themselves in scoring position.
However, a big sack made it second and 20 before their drive ended when junior quarterback Kasey Boone’s pass was picked off in the endzone with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
This left the door open for the Broncos to try and extend their lead, which they were able to do minutes later. A nice drive was capped off by a three-yard rushing touchdown by junior Ty Bryant, giving them a 21-0 lead with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
Owensboro attempted to respond on the following drive to close out the third quarter, but with 1:39 left in the quarter Boone’s pass tipped off the hands of his intended target and Frederick Douglass earned another interception.
“I thought we had some opportunities [throughout the night],” Fallin said. “I thought we were in the redzone or close to the redzone several times and for a variety of reasons when we were down there we couldn’t punch it in.”
The interception turned into an early rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the Broncos a 28-0 lead with 11:32 left to play. Frederick Douglass struck again later, as its fourth rushing touchdown of the night made it 35-0 with 3:16 left to play.
Owensboro would get on the board as Boone connected with junior Ethan Pendleton in the final minute of play, but it was too little too late as the Broncos ended the Red Devils season with a 35-7 victory.
Following the game Fallin noted that Frederick Douglass was a strong, well-coached team that is tough to beat on its home turf, but was proud of his team’s efforts.
“I’m really proud of how our kids fought until the end,” Fallin said. “It would’ve been easy to lay down early, but we didn’t. We’ll go back and look at the film, but I really thought we fought until the end.”
While the season didn’t end the way that Owensboro wanted, Fallin said that they were nothing short of successful this year. Especially after having a major change to the program when current Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt graduated early and left the team after three games.
“We can’t just judge our success or failure on if we won a championship or not,” Fallin said. “As I told the guys after the game, I think at an early point in the season a lot of people probably wrote us off and said we couldn’t even win our district. And we won 12 in a row. A lot to be proud of this season.”
The senior class can also leave the program with their heads held high, having never lost to a district opponent in their careers and winning three straight region titles while constantly making deep postseason runs.
“They’ve done a tremendous job,” Fallin said. “They were not a heralded quote-on-quote class coming into our program. They lost some middle school games to in-town opponents… They’re not a big class in numbers… But they’ve really worked hard and they’ve bought into what we want to try to do as a program. It matters a lot to them. Whatever their role is they’re ok with it and they accept it and they buy into doing things the right way every single day and they’ve made their mark on this program.”
Fallin also reminded his players after the game that football can help them grow, learn and give them the keys to be successful in life. However, he also reminded them that if life is a mile long, football is about an inch of it.
The Red Devils have a strong season come to an end in the third round of the playoffs, finishing the year with a 12-2 overall record.