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Bearcats escape with win over South Oldham

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Anderson dominates stats, but big plays keep Dragons close.

By John Herndon

The computer rankings  predicted an Anderson County blowout. Nearly everyone that watches high school football agreed with them.

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The stat sheet indicated the Bearcats dominated South Oldham.

But the only place where things really matter – the scoreboard – told the story of Anderson struggling with a South Oldham team that was supposed to be little more than a formality.

Anderson remained unbeaten with a 29-19 win but did not seal the deal until 7:48 remained. Jacob Russell bulled into the end zone from a yard out to cap an 82-yard drive that put things out of reach.

Anderson clinched the home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which will start on Nov. 6.

“We had a turnover, the field was sloppy, bad weather conditions, but we still found a way to win,” said Anderson coach Mark Peach.

The game was played in horrible field conditions as the result of nearly a month of rain.

With 4:59 to play in the third quarter, South Oldham had taken a 19-15 lead with an 82-yard drive of its own, capped by quarterback Chris Wallace's one-yard run.

The lead lasted all of 37 seconds as Russell found Grant Cox wide open for an 46-yard scoreing strike.

South Oldham had hung around on big plays. The Dragons got a 64-yard touchdown run from Wallace out of a fake punt and Jerrod Good returned an interception 65 yards for a score. Russell's pass hit his receiver in the hands, but the ball bounded away to Good.

Down 12-7 with the sparse home crowd watching in stunned silence, the Bearcats got a lift when Russell connected with Neal Wells on a 69-yard pass to set up Dustin Combs' touchdown just before halftime.

Anderson outgained South Oldham 371 yards to 203, with 116 of South Oldham's offense coming on two plays. “Our defense played great,” Peach said. “We let them get loose on one play but other than that, the defense was great.”

Russell completed nine of 16 passes for 189 yards, while Cox hauled in six throws for 106 yards. Combs led Anderson runners with 144 yards on 21 carries.

Wallace paced South Oldham with 93 yards running.

Anderson, now 8-0 for only the third time in the 60-year history of the school, will travel to Oldham County for the district championship showdown next Friday. “If we don't play better than this, we will get embarrassed,” Peach said.

**Anderson might have suffered a major blow when Wells went down with a knee injury on Wallace's last touchdown. The extent of his injury is not known at press time.

Combs also hurt his wist early in the game, but returned to lead Anderson ground game with 144 yards.

The full extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

A complete report, including some comments from Peach on several defensive stars, will appear in the Oct. 21 edition of The Anderson News.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.