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By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
NOKESVILLE -- Warren County gave undefeated district foe Kettle Run all it could handle on Friday night.
But with the Wildcats facing a fourth-and-3 from their own 45 and down by seven, Tyler Post's pass fell incomplete with just over a minute to play and the Cougars escaped with a 28-21 victory to remain unbeaten.
"This epitomizes a great high school football game," said Wildcats coach Tony Tallent. "The only thing better that could've happened is if it had gone into overtime."
Trailing 14-7 coming out of halftime, the Wildcats forced Kettle Run to punt on the Cougars' opening drive of the second half. Warren County took over on its own 21 and orchestrated a 10-play drive to tie the game.
Facing a third-and-5 on the drive from the Wildcats 40, Post broke off a 17-yard run to give Warren County a first down. After a pass interference penalty against the Cougars gave the Wildcats the ball in the red zone, Post broke off a 19-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14.
"[Post] is an amazing kid -- the kid's for real, he's a battler," Tallent said. "He's got the mentality of a baseball player -- he'll strike out one time and then he's coming right back. He's a warrior."
Kettle Run responded early in the fourth quarter as running back Joshua Tapscott busted a 73-yard run to put the Cougars inside Warren's 10. Three plays later, quarterback Mac Graham found Josh Wicka for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars back on top 21-14 with eight minutes to play.
But the Wildcats, led by Post, once again answered the bell. With the ball on the Warren 31, Post used his legs to turn a broken play into a 17-yard gain. Several plays later, Post connected with Zane Grudzinski on just his second completion of the game for 26 yards. On the next play, Post showed off his running ability again, spinning off of a Cougars defender before sprinting down the sideline for a 15-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21-all with just over five minutes to play.
"There was great blocking up front -- great blocking from the running backs," said Post, who finished with 101 yards rushing and two touchdowns. "I was doing everything I could."
Post did most of the running for Warren County as Gage Steele did not touch the ball after the 9:30 mark in the first quarter due to what Tallent called an "undisclosed injury."
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they could not find an answer for Tapscott as he carried the ball five times for 32 yards on the ensuing drive, pushing his rushing total to a game-high 180 yards, setting up a 3-yard run by Wicka for the game-winning touchdown with 2:15 to play.
"[Tapscott] makes big plays -- the kid makes plays," Tallent said. "He plays offense, defense -- he goes both ways. He's always been a real tough player."
The Wildcats (6-3, 1-3 Evergreen) fell into an early 14-0 hole when Tapscott scored on plays of 48 and 53 yards. The Wildcats added a touchdown with five minutes to play in the half when Post found Damien Wright over the middle for a 45-yard touchdown. Post completed just two passes on the night for 71 yards and touchdown.
"I just trusted my lineman, stepped up in the pocket and kept my eyes downfield," Post said of the touchdown pass. "I found Damien and he made a good play -- a couple blocks downfield helped us get into the end zone."