DIXON -- Webster County competed with Trigg County for spurts of Friday night's Class 3-A First District game between the two squads, but the Trojans were forced to play catch-up for the entire game after a sluggish start as the Wildcats notched a 61-30 victory at Trojan Field.
"We can't start slow and that's we did (Friday night)," Webster County coach Zack LaGrange said. "We dug ourselves a hole, but give our guys credit. They continued to fight and tried to take some positives from it."
Webster County (3-5, 0-2 district) tied the game at 7-7 with 7:30 left in the first quarter as Mason Wilson connected with Hayden Nunn for a 12-yard touchdown pass to a cap a drive where the Trojans benefited from three pass interference penalties against the Wildcats.
Trigg County (5-3, 1-1) answered right back on the next play from scrimmage with a 60-yard scoring strike from Navy commit Cameron Jordon to Jaquellus Martin, and the Wildcats pushed their lead to 21-7 at the end of the first quarter thanks to Cade Bleidt running it in for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The Wildcats would lead by at least two scores the rest of the way as the Trojans' defense struggled to limit big plays without star senior linebacker Shawn Guinn, who tore his MCL last week in practice and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
"Defensively we struggled," LaGrange said. "You're going to struggle when you lose a guy like Shawn Guinn to injury. The young guys are stepping up, but it's going to take some time to work through."
Jordon completed 9-of-17 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns while also adding a 15-yard touchdown run. Bleidt finished with 127 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries, and Tayshaun Baker had 56 yards on six carries and also added a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the second half.
Webster County did find some success offensively with the Wing-T formation as the Trojans spread it out evenly to Aden Winn, Daniel Yates and Kale Bumpus. Winn was the Trojans' leading rusher with 80 yards and a score on 12 handoffs while Yates had 49 yards on 10 carries. Bumpus tallied 18 yards on five carries, and he also snagged a 48-yard touchdown reception.
"Wing-T is a Webster County staple. I felt like we needed a change of pace for the run game, and we needed to have something in our pocket to give our athletes the ball. We have to be able to run the ball and I really feel like the Wing-T will allow us to accomplish that."
Kicker Joel McCormick drilled a 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for Webster, and Tanner Robertson added a 3-yard touchdown run late for the Trojans. Wilson finished the game with 137 passing yards and two scores.
A potential turning point in the game occurred with just under four minutes to go before halftime as Jordon slid down before he was past the first-down marker on fourth down to give the ball to the Trojans, who trailed 34-20 and had met little resistance from Trigg at running the Wing-T on the previous two possessions. However Webster fumbled on the next play, and Jordon took it in from 15 yards out a couple plays later to give Trigg a 40-20 advantage at the break -- Barker's long kickoff return to start the third quarter all but sealing the win for the Wildcats, who will host Union County on Friday.
Meanwhile, Webster County will play its final home game of the season and wrap up district play against Paducah Tilghman, who clinched the regular-season district title with a 49-13 romp over Union on Friday. Although the Trojans have had some down points and have faced some adversity with injuries late in the season, LaGrange cannot fault the effort of his players as the team strives to continue to build the program up -- those efforts at the high school level leading to wins for the middle school team and the respective junior pro teams becoming one of the best in the area.
"We are still learning how to win this year," LaGrange said. "Just like losing becomes a habit, winning becomes a habit as well. We're just trying to change the culture, and this team's doing everything we're asking them to do. We really can't ask them for much more. We just have to continue what we're doing."