Special teams miscues cost Oldham County in a 9-6 loss to Fern Creek on Sept. 1 in La Grange.
The Colonels held the Tiger offense to zero points, but a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a snap out of the back of the end zone on another kick were all FCHS needed to earn a road win.
“The defense played great. I was just telling these guys that they played their asses off,” Oldham County coach Ta’Shawn McBroom said. “But we’re going to need to do a pre-practice punt team and a post-practice punt team going forward to make sure guys know where to go and who they need to block.”
The Tigers got on the board first with the blocked punt return to take a 7-0 lead with 6:31 to play in the opening quarter.
The Colonel passing game began to click for the first time this season shortly after, in part due to a new game plan.
“I wanted to stay on the ground more, so I went to a new formation that we’ll probably move forward with. I’ve got three really good running backs, so I’m going to try to take advantage of that,” McBroom said. “That’s going to help keep the quarterback as a game manager, not so much relying on him to throw 20 times a night.”
The Colonels used both the running and passing game to march down the field late in the first quarter, and quarterback Zach Davis hit Zach Hohman for an 11-yard score on the opening play of the second quarter. However, Fern Creek maintained a 7-6 lead after Oldham County missed the extra point.
Oldham County appeared to have momentum after a quick defensive stop on the ensuing Tiger possession, but a three-and-out followed by a snap out of the back of the end zone for a safety on a punt attempt put Fern Creek ahead 9-6 with nine minutes until halftime.
Both defenses bore down from that point on, as neither team scored in the game’s final 33 minutes.
Oldham County’s best opportunity came on its second possession of the third quarter. The Colonels used a physical rushing attack to march down the field and inside the red zone, but Fern Creek stuffed a fourth and one run up the gut at their own 10-yard line to thwart the drive with just over a minute remaining in the period.
The Tigers bled most of the fourth quarter clock – and all three of Oldham County’s timeouts – with a lengthy drive that stalled at the Colonels’ four-yard line with 1:12 left.
The Colonels picked up a first down on the second play of the next drive, but four consecutive empty plays ended any hope of a comeback.
Despite the loss, a revamped practice plan seemed to get the Colonels trending in the right direction against Fern Creek after a 28-8 loss against Shelby County the week prior.
“I went back to what I was doing last year with two days this week where we worked both offense and defense. The first two weeks, we went all offense one day and all defense the other day,” McBroom said. “I thought we got more eyes on what we needed to see. We did a great job paying attention to details, so I think those two days of working it really helped us understand what Fern Creek was trying to do to us.”
The margin of defeat in Oldham County’s three losses to begin the season have been shorter than the previous game. Now, the Colonels will look to take the next step and put a game in the win column on Sept. 9 at Meade County.
“We just need to stay all the way locked in, being committed to weights, committed to film, committed to being better,” McBroom said. “I told him that we had a bloody nose and a black eye this week. Now, we’ve got a bloody nose and two black eyes, but we’ve got to get off that stool next week and continue to fight.”
FERN CREEK 9, OLDHAM COUNTY 6
Fern Creek 7 2 0 0 – 9
Oldham County 0 6 0 0 – 6