Royals complete comeback over Cougars

Not much was going right for Mason County at the start of Friday night’s contest with Morgan County.

The rain kept some of the crowd away, it was Homecoming night and the first 12:08 of the contest had the Royals in a 20-0 deficit to the Cougars.

Just when things couldn’t get much worse, a high snap on an attempted punt gave the Cougars possession on the Royals 12, looking to make it 27-0 just a little over 13 minutes into the game.

But then a Jayden Riggs interception sparked a comeback on the very next play.

Mason County would use that momentum to erase the 20-point deficit and comeback to take the game 35-32, in what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair at the end.

The Royals secondary picked off four passes, two from Riggs, got 152 yards rushing on the ground from Seth Chambers and grinded out a much needed win as the Royals head into their bye week before district play begins.

“I told the guys if we were going to get back into this game it was going to be because we were together. It was going to be one play at a time, we’re not going to be divided, we’ve got to be together and see what we’re made of,” Royals coach Jonathan Thomas said.

“We did a lot of wrong things in the first half. Just not being us and it kind of got to the point where we were doing our own thing and doing your own thing puts you down 20-0. We had to figure that out and once guys started doing things they were coached to do it started to fall in place for us.”

It was all Cougars early, capitalizing on touchdown drives of 13 plays and nine plays to put the Royals in a 14-0 hole 11:43 into the game. Meanwhile the Royals had run just two plays, one of them resulting in a fumble.

The start of the second quarter didn’t get much better. On the first play to start the frame, Jerimiah Carty broke into the Royals backfield so quickly that he snagged a pitch from Carson Brammer intended for Seth Chambers and he had nothing but green grass in front of him, racing for a 30-yard touchdown and a 20-0 Cougars lead.

A high snap on an attempted punt then gave the Cougars the ball on the Royals 12, looking to break this one open and build a four-possession lead. But Riggs’ leaping grab in the end zone stalled momentum from there.

“It wasn’t necessarily that we were down, but I had missed two passes earlier on offense and wanted to make up for my team. They just threw the ball up my way and wanted to go make a play and I did,” Riggs said.

Brammer got the comeback started with a 30-yard touchdown run, the two going into halftime with a Morgan 20-7 lead.

An interception from Brammer to start the third wasn’t ideal for the Royals, but Brammer would find his rhythm quickly after.

“Carson is a tough kid. He’s been in tough situations and tonight was big for him. He’s one of our leaders and we go as he goes,” Thomas said.

The junior signal-caller would start the game hitting just 2-of-10 passes for 12 yards and an interception. He’d finish 6-of-8 for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

After the Brammer interception, Colton Riggs returned the favor with the Royals second interception of the night.

Mason County capitalized off the turnover on a Brammer 1-yard run that was set up by Chambers’ 55 rushing yards on the drive, making it 20-14 with 5:18 left in the third.

The Cougars then responded when Garrett Adkins hit Zach Gilliam for a 41-yard touchdown to make it 26-14 Cougars with 3:31 left in the third.

The shootout ensued when Brammer hit Jake Swolsky for a 16-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-9 to make it 26-21 Morgan in the closing seconds of the third.

Cole Jones got the Royals third interception of the night in the early stages of the fourth that was answered with a Brammer 13-yard touchdown toss to Cody Jones, giving the Royals their first lead of the night.

The Cougars took the smash mouth approach on their next drive, going 80 yards on eight run plays to give them the lead back at 32-27 with 6:03 to play.

Mason County would quickly respond when Chambers got to paydirt from four yards out with 3:02 left to play to make it 35-32 Royals.

An improbable comeback became complete when Jayden Riggs picked off his second pass of the night on a Cougars trick play with under a minute left to seal the deal.

“We’ve been practicing ever since July to not gamble and stay at home and Coach Thomas reminded us to not gamble and stay at home. On that play I thought it was going to be one reverse, but it ended being two and I looked back and saw someone beat, so I sprint back and he throws the ball up and I’m right there to pick it off,” Riggs said.

Now comes a bye week for Mason County before they head into district play to face Scott on September 21 in Taylor Mill. As if the win can provide momentum, having two weeks to prepare for district play gives the Royals some confidence.

“Big, big things for a lot of kids stepping up and making plays for us tonight,” Thomas said. “We had a good week of preparation. I think kids see now Monday through Thursday wins football games. In order for us to keep winning football games we have to do that.”

Brammer would finish the night with 116 yards passing and two touchdowns to go with 19 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Chambers 152 yards gave him three games over the century mark already this year.

“I tried to spell Seth a bit defensively to do that. Other guys stepped up big defensively to make that happen,” Thomas said.

Swolsky led in receiving with 42 yards and the score.

Adkins threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Kaden Ballenger tallied 73 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Zach Gilliam totaled 67 yards receiving on five catches and two touchdowns. Morgan County dropped to 1-2 and faces Shelby Valley Friday.

MORGAN COUNTY—13-7-6-6—32

MASON COUNTY—0-7-14-14—35

Scoring:

1st Quarter

(Morgan) Adkins 10-yd pass to Sexton (Ferguson kick) 5:26

(Morgan) Adkins 7-yd pass to Gilliam (kick blocked) :17

2nd Quarter

(Morgan) Carter 30-yd fumble return (Ferguson kick) 11:53

(Mason) Brammer 30-yd run (Gilligan kick) 3:38

3rd Quarter

(Mason) Brammer 1-yd run (Gilligan kick) 5:18

(Morgan) Adkins 41-yd pass to Gilliam (run failed) 3:31

(Mason) Brammer 16-yd pass to Swolsky (Gilligan kick) :30

4th Quarter

(Mason) Brammer 13-yd pass to Cody Jones (kick failed) 10:05

(Morgan) Ballenger 1-yd run (run failed) 6:03

(Mason) Chambers 4-yd run (Brammer pass to J. Riggs) 3:02

Records: Morgan County 1-2, Mason County 2-2

Mason County
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_57ae02ee99c0f.image_-2.jpgMason County

Morgan County
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Morgan-County-2.jpgMorgan County

Mason County’s Seth Chambers rushes down the field Friday night against Morgan County. Chambers ran for 152 yards and a touchdown in the Royals 35-32 victory.
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_090818-spt-mason01-1.jpgMason County’s Seth Chambers rushes down the field Friday night against Morgan County. Chambers ran for 152 yards and a touchdown in the Royals 35-32 victory.

Mason County’s Carson Brammer scrambles downfield Friday night against Morgan County. The junior quarterback threw for 116 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more touchdowns.
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_090818-spt-mason02-1.jpgMason County’s Carson Brammer scrambles downfield Friday night against Morgan County. The junior quarterback threw for 116 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more touchdowns.

Mason County’s Jake Swolsky defends a pass downfield against Morgan County Friday night. Swolsky caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in the Royals 35-32 victory.
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_090818-spt-mason03-1.jpgMason County’s Jake Swolsky defends a pass downfield against Morgan County Friday night. Swolsky caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in the Royals 35-32 victory.
Mason County erases 20-point deficit to top Morgan County

 

EVAN DENNISON

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