By James Cook, Times Editor
It was expected to be a border war. The Estill County Engineers were in town to play the Pirates, with the winner taking the district’s number two spot. That would assure them of a first round playoff game at home, more importantly bragging rights for another year. The rain and mud may have been a factor, but Estill’s ability to hold on to the ball made the difference. The Engineers picked up the win over Powell, 42-28.
The game started slow then just got messy as a deluge set in for most of the first half. The monsoon conditions led to both sides having some difficulty holding on to the ball. But Estill held on a little better.
The Engineers went up 14-0 following a seven yard run by Tyler Cole and then a four yard scoring play. But Powell cut the lead in half with 2:22 to play in the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Eliot Hale broke loose on a 68 yard gallop into the end zone. The halftime score stood at 14-7.
The Engineers took control early in the second half. Taking advantage of Pirates’ fumbles, the Engineers scored on runs by Cole and Kenton Roberts. Powell finally answered and cut the lead in half again when Hale scored again on a 19 yard run.
The wind began to pick up and so did Powell’s momentum. After Hale’s TD the Engineers fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Powell took the ball down field and scored on a 31 yard jaunt by Tim Hardy. The score was 28-21 as the game entered the final frame.
Estill’s strength and experience began to shine through in the fourth quarter over the young Pirates squad. Roberts added two more touchdowns for the Engineers. The first was a 29 yard scamper into the end zone; the second was a 43 yard rumble. He also added the two point conversion on the final drive to make it 42-21 with 6:11 to play.
Powell just could not catch up. Hardy did add a nine yard TD run with just 17 seconds to play. But the damage had been done. Estill (5-4) claimed the district’s number two seed and a first round playoff home game with the 42-28 victory
The Pirates (2-7) will take the number three seed and will have to travel when the playoffs begin on Nov. 6.
Meanwhile both teams will end their regular season this Friday. Estill will travel to Madison Southern, while Powell will travel to West Carter.
“We gave them too much, way too much in the first half,” Powell Coach Tony Burchett said. “We did not execute, but we are still in the playoffs as a number three seed, not a four seed.”
But Burchett did advise his team on what they had to do to beat teams like Estill in the future. “We’ve got to get stronger. We need to work harder in the weight room. That is the only thing holding us back,” Burchett told his team after the game. “We have to stop making silly mistakes. We’ve got to stop making mental mistakes. But I think we’re alright. We’ll go to West Carter, play hard there and then get ready for the playoffs. That game is a winnable game.”