dsc_0244The Whitley County Colonels came to play Thursday night when they hosted the Lincoln County Patriots in the first round of the 2016 Class 5A football state championship playoffs.

A fumble on the game’s opening kickoff was recovered by the Colonels deep in Patriot territory, leading to a 14-yard scoring run from senior Nathan Jackson a few minutes later. The Noah Langford PAT put the home team up 7-0 with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter.

Lincoln tied things up at 7-7 with 3:38 on the clock, but Whitley quickly responded, going up 14-7 at the 1:47 mark when junior quarterback Dylan Wilson threw the ball to receiver Dawson Swain, who took it 30 yards to the house.

Another fumble recovery by the Colonels just before the start of the second quarter eventually led to more points, this time via a five-yard Jackson touchdown run with 10:53 remaining in the half. Langford’s third extra point of the night was good, extending the Whitley County lead to 21-7.

The Colonels went up 28-7 with 6:08 before the half when Wilson found senior receiver Tyler Downs on a 35-yard strike to pay dirt. Langford was good again, putting the home team up by 21 points.

The Patriots were able to find the end zone again at 4:27, but at 1:35 senior Colonel Sean Hickey scampered nine yards for another Whitley six. Langford’s kick made it 35-15, Colonels.

A 79-yard pass and catch from Wilson to junior Cameron Rose resulted in another Whitley County score with 10:50 left in the third, and after another Langford PAT the Colonels were in firm control, 42-14.

They weren’t done yet, however, as Jackson would score on another five-yard touchdown run with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter, followed by another Wilson-to-Downs TD pass with just seconds left before the start of the fourth. That score put the Colonels up 55-14, and resulted in a running clock for the duration of the contest.

Lincoln County scored early in the fourth quarter, but by then it was much too little, too late. They would go on to lose the game by the final score of 55-21.

Whitley, now 9-2 on the year, will host the winners of Friday’s Pulaski County versus Harlan County game next week at Colonel Stadium. That second round playoff contest is scheduled for Friday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.

See the 11/9 edition of the News Journal for more information.