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Floyd short to Jeff by a touchdown

Jeffersonville's Chris Thompson, right, gets called for pass interference on this play when he tries to break up a pass to Floyd Central's Ryan Wimsatt. Floyd came up a touchdown short in its 40-33 loss. (Photo by Wade Bell)
September 24, 2008
After watching the Jeffersonville Red Devils slide through their fingers and rack up a 24-point lead in the third quarter, the Floyd Central Highlanders charged back late in the second half only to come up a touchdown short in a 40-33 Hoosier Hills Conference defeat.

"They're a little bit better than us right now," Floyd coach Brian Glesing said. "They're a little bit better than us speed-wide, so we've got to be a little more physical. That's why we want to pound it on teams. That's going to be our thing. As you can see, we're not the fastest team in the world, but if we can pound it on them and we can out hit them We did that for the most part."

Floyd seemed in a daze as the game began. Jeff's Andrel Williams took the kickoff on his own 10-yard line and went untouched to the other end of the field and into the end zone for a 90-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead. The Red Devils, however, missed the extra-point kick attempt.

"We lost our Monday practice, so we lost one practice," Glesing said. "It's not an excuse. They had more adversity than us, so that wasn't the difference."

That run woke up the Highlanders, who quickly came back to score. John Boyle ran the ball to the 35-yard line for a 28-yard return. On the 13th play of the drive, Aaron Sparks ran in from six yards to score. Cole Richards got the extra point, and Floyd had a 7-6 edge.

Jeffersonville scored again with 3:21 to go in the first, as Jamie Goldsmith took the ball in from five yards for the score. Edward Wright-Baker threw to Adam Parella for the two-point conversion, and Jeff led by a touchdown after one period.

Richards warmed up before the game by kicking 38-yard field goals. Those practice kicks proved their worth in the second period when the 6-1 senior booted a 39-yarder with room to spare, closing the game to 14-10 with 10:01 left in the half.

Floyd Central kicker Cole Richards had two big field goals for the Highlanders against Jeffersonville, this one for 39 yards in the first half, with the other for 31 yards in the fourth quarter. (Photo by Wade Bell)
Adam Parella gave Jeff good field position on the following kickoff, bringing the ball out to the 45-yard line. It took just six plays for the Red Devils to get on the scoreboard again as Wright-Baker ran the keeper from 17 yards for the touchdown. Vincent Straight's extra point made it a two-possession game for a 21-10 Jeff lead with 7:56 left in the half.

Floyd moved the ball to the 6-yard line on its next possession. Sparks took a hand-off from Max Guenther, then threw to Max Lowe in the end zone. Jeff's Evan Lindsey was also there, however, and made the interception to stop the Floyd score. The turnover was costly to the Highlanders as Jeffersonville marched down to the 1-yard line, before Wright-Baker ran into the end zone for a 28-10 lead at halftime.

"We've got to take care of the ball," Glesing said. "We had some crucial drive-stoppers here inside the red-zone the first half. That could have been the difference. That happened to us last week. We can't have those mistakes. Those have to be corrected."

Floyd gave the ball up on downs on its first possession after just six plays. On third-and-five, Jamie Goldsmith slid his way through the Floyd defense and ran 61 yards for another Jeff score. The extra-point kick failed, but the Red Devils now had a 34-10 lead with 8:29 to go in the quarter.

But the Highlanders kept their heads and worked the ball on the ground. With 5:58 to go, Sparks got in from a yard out, closing the gap to 34-17. Floyd tried to keep the Red Devils out of the end zone, but with 11:07 to go in the game, Wright-Baker ran in from eight yards to push the Jeff lead to 40-17.

The Highlanders began their next possession from their own 15-yard line, then went into an extra gear. Guenther kept the ball on the first play and then threw to Sparks for a first down. Two plays later, Sparks ran for a 20-yard gain and a first down. Floyd got some help on a five-yard facemask penalty and then Sparks ran to the within a foot of the goal line. Guenther went in on the keeper, and the Jeff lead was reduced to 40-24.

Floyd recovered its onside kick attempt near midfield. Five plays into the possession, Chris Thompson was called for pass interference on a Guenther throw to Ryan Wimsatt, moving the ball down to the 15-yard line. Jeff was later called for another penalty, this time for roughing the passer, moving the ball to the nine. From there, it was Sparks who ran the ball in for the score, cutting Jeff's lead to 10 at 40-30 with 4:56 to go in the game.

"They showed their grit and toughness and never hung their heads," Glesing said. "That's a big deal."

Floyd went with the onside attempt again only to see it foiled by Tyler Ray, who immediately fell on the ball, allowing the Red Devils to start on their own 44-yard line. Jeff, however, managed just five plays before having to give the ball up to the Highlanders.

Floyd managed just one more score as Richards booted in his second field goal, this one from 31 yards, with 21.6 seconds left.

Jeff recovered an onside kick again and took a knee on the next play for the 40-33 win.

"We did everything and kept doing what we're doing," Glesing said. "We kept running the ball and made big plays. They didn't stop us. We didn't punt it. We didn't punt all night, so offensively we're getting there. Defensively we've got a long way to go."

"We just made two big mistakes in the red zone in the first half and that was the big difference," he said.

Floyd finished with 441 yards of offense to Jeff's 438. The Highlanders ran the ball 50 times for 348 yards to Jeff's 360 yards on 41 carries. Passing, Floyd competed 6 of 16 with one interception for 93 yards to Jeff's 5 of 10 for 78 yards.

Sparks led Floyd with 155 yards rushing on 28 carries, and Guenther had 98 yards on eight carries to go along with his 93 passing yards.

"He made some big throws down the stretch and made some big runs," Glesing said of Guenther. "He's a great runner. Our game is running the ball, and the only way we're going to beat Jeffersonville, if we play them again, is we control the line of scrimmage and run the ball. They're too quick on the edge and too quick in the secondary. We've got to control the ball and that's what we did."

Goldsmith led the Red Devils, gaining 237 yards on 26 carries. Wright-Baker followed up with 111 yards on the ground and 78 yards passing.

After being walloped 55-0 by the Red Devils last year, Glesing said his team showed how much it has improved and also showed the character to keep going.

"This was the sectional champion team last year," Glesing said of Jeff. "It was 55-0 (last year) and it was 40-33 (tonight). We've improved a lot. We played a lot better this week than we did the last and that's the goal each week, to get a little bit better."

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