By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Indians had several opportunities to make potentially game-changing plays early in Saturday’s season opener against Harlan County in Richmond.
They just take advantage of enough of those chances.
The Black Bears found the end zone on their first possession and then scored the final 42 points of the game on the way to a 49-6 win over Madison Central at the third-annual Roy Kidd Bowl.
“We had some chances,” Central coach Bert Browne said. “That’s what happens when you are young. You don’t make things happen. That’s just the bottom line. That’s a heck of a football team we played.”
The Black Bears went 80 yards on 10 plays and scored on a 6-yard pass from Scott Bailey to Zach Chitwood on fourth-and-goal on the opening drive of the game.
Then, for a moment, Central grabbed the momentum.
Sophomore Kameron Presnell hit John Williams on a 75-yard touchdown pass with 5:50 left in the first quarter. With the Indians trailing 7-6, Will Nash forced a fumble on the kickoff and Central recovered.
But, the Indians couldn’t capitalize on that opportunity and were forced to punt.
Central was presented with another brilliant opportunity at that moment.
Harlan County mishandled the kick and Blake Gross had a chance to recover near the goalline. But, the ball slipped away and the Black Bears retained possession.
Harlan County responded with a 99-yard drive that was capped with a 20-yard run by Chitwood on the first play of the second quarter.
“You can’t let someone go 99 1/2 yards on you,” Browne said. “We had some things we did well defensively early. Then, the next thing you know, its 2nd-and-11 and we give up 15 yards. We never got them in a situation on third-and-long and made them throw the football. You can’t do that against a team that can run the ball.”
The Black Bears added two more touchdowns before halftime on a 2-yard run by Kelin Gist and a 32-yard pass from Bailey to Cole Wilson.
Harlan County led 29-6 at halftime.
In the opening half, Central had just 59 yards of total offense, -21 yards rushing and one first down.
“We didn’t do anything offensively,” Browne said. “We didn’t run the ball.”
Things didn’t get any better in the second half.
The Black Bears scored one minute into the third quarter on a 22-yard run by Bailey.
Carson Whitehead and Dylan Cornett added 1-yard TD runs later in the half.
The Indians finished with only three first downs, turned the ball over twice, had -21 yards rushing and just 89 yards of total offense.
Whitehead finished with 112 yards on 11 carries, Chatwood had 80 yards rushing and Bailey threw for 66 yards and rushed for 77 yards.
Presnell was three-of-eight for 89 yards and Zach Hardin was two-for-six for 21 yards.
Central (0-1) is set to return to action Friday at Woodford County.