Unable to get anything going offensively, Trigg County fell to Union County 26-13 in the first round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 3A State Playoffs Friday in Cadiz.
It was a back-and-forth affair for the first quarter as both teams traded off big plays but were unable to string anything together, making it a 0-0 ballgame heading into the second quarter.
The intensity picked up in the second quarter, as a three-and-out led to the first scoring drive of the game for the Braves. Union County took over at their own 28 and let junior fullback Matthias Ervin take over.
A 22-yard run and 30-yard run from Ervin had the Braves well in position to score and did so when Ervin capped off the drive with a five-yard run. The Wildcats blocked the extra point, giving Union County a 6-0 lead with 8:25 to play in the first half.
Union County quickly gained the ball back, but Trigg came right back to swing the momentum. After forcing a punt that went about 10 yards, senior wide receiver JaKobe Bridges took it off one hop and bolted to the endzone for a 50-yard touchdown to give Trigg County a 7-6 lead into the second half.
The Braves came out of the gates aggressive, stifling Trigg County's offense quickly in the first drive of the second half leading to a 69-yard run from Ervin and a few plays later, it was the junior fullback again scoring for Union County to take a 12-7 lead after a failed two-point conversion.
Union County continued to gain momentum on the next drive as Trigg County senior quarterback Cam Jordan's pass glanced off of senior wide receiver Tayshaun Barker's hands, leading to a 38-yard pick-six and a 20-7 lead for Union County.
Trigg County continued to struggle offensively as the third quarter went on as they couldn't find any way to advance the ball in the passing or rushing game. Jordan ended the night with 80 yards passing and two interceptions on 9-of-24 passing attempts.
"They had a really good gameplan," Trigg County Coby Lewis said. "I thought what they were going to defensively is what they did and I thought we were going to throw the ball better."
Meanwhile, the Braves offense continued to roll. Union County was able to find the endzone again on the ground with 2:38 left in the third, thanks to a 29-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Corithian Seales-Portee.
Ervin and Seales-Portee fueled the Union County offense all night, combining for 301 rushing yards.
The two teams met previously Oct. 25 when Trigg County defeated Union County 33-7. Lewis mentioned the change in their running game being a key factor in the Braves' success this time around.
"They handed the ball to 30 (Ervin) a little more," Lewis said. "He's a load. I think the time before they were so anxious to get 9 (Seales-Portee) that they went away from 30 (Ervin) last time."
Jordan found Bridges for a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth, but that would be all that the Wildcats offense could muster, falling to the Braves 26-13.
As Trigg County's season came to a close with a 6-5 record, Lewis left his players with a message following the game.
"We ask you on the first (day) to leave the program better than you found it, and you've done that seniors," Lewis said. "Cherish this moment. Take the stuff that you've learned from this game and move forward with it. I'm proud of every one of you and I love every one of you."