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VERSAILLES – There would be nothing strange happening at Woodford County Stadium Friday night.
Anderson County saw to that.
Well, almost nothing. Woodford County got hit with a delay of game penalty when the Yellow Jackets' homecoming festivities went a bit too long at halftime, but all that did was shorten Anderson's march to the inevitable, a 38-3 romp past Woodford in high school football action.
On a night when there were some surprising scores statewide, the Bearcats simply took care of business better than Bachmann Turner Overdrive ever did. Anderson dominated like a highly-ranked team should.
The Bearcats racked up 420 yards of offense and did so without completing a pass in the second half. Anderson rolled up 20 first downs, 18 on the ground, and held the ball for nearly 31 minutes. So overwhelming was the Bearcat defense that Woodford got inside the Bearcat 45 only twice.
There was nothing fancy for a Bearcat team that is normally high-tech and high-octane. Friday, it was five yards and a cloud of AstroTurf.
“Coach (Mark) Peach said to come out and run the ball, because (Woodford) was running a 3-man front on us,” said junior receiver Dusty Puckett, whose 22-yard catch was one of only three Anderson completions and the longest one of the night.
Puckett also had an interception in the third quarter.
“He challenged us (at halftime) and said we needed to run the ball,” added senior lineman Darius Harvey.
Anderson piled up 357 yards on the ground, nearly doubling its previous season-best of 217 from the week before against Montgomery County.
On the other side, Anderson limited Woodford, now 1-5, to 189 yards, the second-lowest total the Bearcats had given up this year. Anderson limited Mercer County to 111 yards two weeks earlier.
“I was so proud of the guys,” Peach said. “(Woodford County) had scored 36 points last week against East Jessamine and had a running clock in the second half of that game. Woodford looked like a different team than the first four games. We came into their place. It is their homecoming and they have a great crowd.
“We were able to jump on them and win like we did.”
If anything, Anderson might have beaten Woodford even worse than the score indicated. Normally almost automatic when in the red zone, Anderson squandered two scoring opportunities inside the Woodford 20, one coming when Woodford stopped the Bearcats on downs inside the Yellow Jacket 2.
Anderson got all the scoring it needed when senior Sam Laytart capped the Bearcats' first drive with a 7-yard scoring run less than four minutes in.
Just over five minutes later, Laytart scored again, this time from four yards.
“We haven't started real good all season,” Laytart said. “We got the lead early today and that was important. We had a chance to seal the deal when we came out after halftime.”
Anderson appeared to sputter at times through the second quarter, but Peach attributed that to a nice move by Woodford coach Steve Stonebraker, who took notice of the fact that Anderson had thrown for over 200 yards in four of its first five games and boasts one of the state's best receivers in Ross Cox.
“You have to give Woodford County credit,” Peach said. “They know we have a quarterback in Zachary Carmichael who is capable of throwing the football. They know we have a great receiver in Ross and a nice complementary receiver in Dusty Puckett. They know that some of our kids in the backfield can catch the ball.
“After the first two drives, they went with a 34 defense with three down linemen. So, at halftime, we talked about our adjustments.”
They were simple: Line it up and knock Woodford back.
The Bearcats piled up 257 yards after intermission, all of it on the ground. Cox, a senior, went without catching a pass for the first time since the 2011 regional championship game at Conner. However, with the Bearcats lining up in a wishbone for much of the second half, Cox picked up 100 yards rushing on just six carries.
Woodford had scored late in the first half when Zach Korby drilled a 28-yard field goal, but Cox capped the opening drive of the third quarter with a 10-yard run to make it 21-3.
On Anderson's next offensive snap, Ryan Martin scooted around right end and did not stop until he had run 80 yards to make it 28-3.
Game, set, match Bearcats.
Anderson added a 31-yard field goal from Joe Rose late in the third quarter and completed the scoring with Laytart going in from five yards with 80 seconds left.
Anderson improved to 5-1 on the year, 2-0 in district play. Woodford fell to 1-5, 1-1.
“We were wearing them down some,” Harvey noted. “It looked like they were getting a little frustrated. I think we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Peach would think Harvey is short-changing the guys in the trenches.
“Our offensive line, I thought, was spectacular,” Peach said. “I was so proud of our offensive and defensive lines. At halftime, I challenged them to run the football. Defensively, Coach (Duane) Hammons had a great game plan. We were able to contain their running game. If they can't block us, that makes it very difficult for them to run the football.”
While Woodford was not considered a serious threat to the Bearcats, Peach undoubtedly remembered how his teams had struggled with the Yellow Jackets the last two years before pulling away late. Friday, only the final margin was in doubt by halftime.
“We had a lot of players with great games,” Peach said. “I was very excited about how we played.
“The way we executed in the second half, I am as excited as I have been all season.”
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