Sept. 11 marked the return to Friday’s under the lights for Kentucky football teams. It was uncertain the fall 2020 season would happen amid changing guidelines related to contact sports due to the current pandemic. The sights and sounds familiar only to a Friday night football game was a welcome feeling of normalcy for players, coaches, cheerleaders, band members and fans.
Marshall County opened the season against Calloway County, meeting for the 33rd time on the gridiron in the history between the two programs. The Marshals have won the last six over the Lakers and it was one of their two wins in 2019 when they finished 2-9.
Friday, the Lakers ended the Marshals six-game streak with a convincing 33-0 shutout.
After receiving the opening kick, the Lakers wasted no time putting points on the board on their opening drive, going 65 yards and scoring on a four yard quarterback keeper by Kanyon Franklin. The extra point kick good by Freeman Reinhardt for a 7-0 lead at 5:16 in the first quarter.
The Marshals first play from scrimmage for the 2020 season was a seven yard gain by senior running back Garrett Parker but the drive would end on an interception of junior quarterback Quinn Smith by Drew Hudgin.
Starting at the Marshals 37 yard line, Franklin went 53 yards into the end zone to put the Lakers up 13-0 at 10:21 in the second quarter.
The Marshals turned the ball back over on a punt on their next possession which Calloway County converted into points, scoring on a 17 yard pass from Franklin to Hudgin to go up 19-0. The final drive of the half for the Marshals ended on an interception of Smith by Franklin in the end zone.
After receiving the second half kick, the Marshals were forced to punt and a high snap over Talon Smothers was recovered by Lakers in the end zone for their fourth touchdown of the game and 26-0 lead. Timarian Bledsoe put up the final points for the Lakers on a six yard run at 6:17 in the third quarter.
A few highlights of the fourth quarter for the Marshals – forcing the Lakers into their first punt situation of the game, a quarterback sack by Smothers and a nice stop by Griffin Darnall that forced a turnover on downs.
Most of Calloway County’s success came on the ground with just over 200 yards on 32 carries, led by Franklin who is threat on both sides of the ball. Marshall County picked up close to 100 yards on the ground of their 155 yards but two of their five turnovers led to points for the Lakers.
In post-game comments following his first game with the Marshals, Head Coach Steve Etheridge said to WCBL’s Aaron Clayton, “We were sloppy in all phases of the game. Fundamentally not very good, but like I told the kids, those things can be fixed.”
With a tough opponent looming next Friday in McCracken County where Etheridge spent his last five years as an assistant, he said they aren’t looking ahead but just working on themselves. The Mustangs opened at home with a 42-7 win over Mayfield. Last season, McCracken County made a run to the final eight in the Class 6A state championship.