Another November football Friday night. Another scrapbook 139 Bowl memory between Caldwell County and the Trigg County Wildcats.
It's quite the tradition, playing each other for over the last 20 seasons, and this week 10 battle was all about offense. The Wildcats were overdue for their first win over the Tigers since 2012, and almost got it, but two huge second half scores combining for 133 yards by senior RB De'Eric Hollowell (over 300 rushing yards on the night) was enough to assure Caldwell County a 56-54 win in Cadiz Friday night to wrap up this 2019 regular season with a ribbon and pretty paper to secure a record of 8-2.
With over 1,000 yards of combined offense, and the highest scoring game in the history of the storied series, Caldwell County survived a barn-burner.
Trigg County had scored 93 points combined in their last two wins.
Fresh off of the greatest regular season comeback in program history against Murray High erasing an 18-point deficit, the regular season finale was as advertised for the Tigers, and every bit as entertaining. After the late October bye week, Caldwell County was fully rested and locked in for another instant classic against Trigg County (6-4), but the Wildcats played some darn respectable and inspired football on their senior night.
Regardless, Caldwell County (8-2) was favored in the contest, and delivered when they needed to the most.
Interim head coach Waynee McGowan and the Tigers now head to the playoffs where they'll take with them a three-game winning streak since the Mayfield loss on October 4.
Trigg County picked up just 23 yards on 21 carries in the first half, so the Wildcats took to the air instead.
Cam Jordon (1508 passing yards last season and over 450 passing yards Friday night as he set some school records) changed his game for the Wildcats with two touchdown passes, 170 yards in the air and an uncharicteristic 18 throws in the first half he singlehandedly kept the coals burning for the Wildcats, who trailed by just one point after 24 minutes.
Jordan also made the most of the players around him, but Caldwell defense's entire gameplay revolved around stopping No. 2.
JaKobe Bridges (the only Wildcat with multiple touchdowns a season ago) seemingly had a 53-yard TD score to open the game early in the first quarter, but the air was taken out of Perdue Stadium briefly when that play was called back for a hold.
Winners of their previous two football games, Trigg County took 17 plays, fought through big penalties and took half of the first quarter to score on their first possession at 7-0 with 5:44 remaining in the frame on a 1-yard finish by Jordon.
With Hollowell (55 yards rushing in the first half) battling illness off and on throughout the week, first-year quarterback Russ Beshear (30 yards rushing in the first half and 8-of-11 in the first half for 110 yards in the air) answered the call, making several intelligent decisions and finding Logan Smiley for a 20 yard gain to get the Tigers into scoring position before throwing an 18-yard TD dart to Tate VanHooser with 4:40 remaining in the first frame to take their first lead at 7-6.
Canyon Richardson stopped what was almost another Trigg County touchdown on the kickoff return, as the Wildcats found room around the edges while Jordan took command in the pocket. Eventually, Jordon found Josh Visongardi from five yards out to put Trigg County back up 14-7 (two point conversion by Bridges) in the final two minutes of the first quarter.
Trigg County had given up over 1900 yards rushing coming into the game, and Hollowell and the Tigers looked to take advantage, but Trigg County came out with their foot on the throats, picking up an interception to end Caldwell's second drive of the game.
The second quarter saw Baron Wells muscle his way inside the 10-yard line and into the rezone after an evasive finish off the connection from Beshear.
Beshear would keep it and go up the middle for an untouched 9-yard answer to tie the game 14-14 in the opening moments of the second quarter.
Elijah Shaheen was tenacious for the Tigers in the first half defensively, and helped force Trigg's first punt of the night with a takedown on a third and nine.
Hollowell started warming up on the other end with some short scoots around the right side, picking up 15 yards for the first down midway through two.
Beshear kept finding Hollowell, and the senior kept finding the gaps all the way to the Trigg County end zone, giving the Tigers the lead at 21-14 with his first score of the game and his 19th rushing score of the season.
Nearing 1,000 rushing yards for the season at that point, Hollowell walked into the end zone untouched via a nine yard dash with four minutes to go in the first half.
A 14-0 run from the Tigers was plugged up by a taunting penalty that led to a Trigg County first down that eventually closed the halftime gap to 21-20 on a 10-yard connection from Jordon to Kion Thompson in the final minute of the first half. Caldwell still maintained the narrow one point lead heading to the locker room, as the last extra point attempt was no good from the Wildcats.
The second half of the regular season finale began with a promising offensive drive for Caldwell County, making the most of their opening possession of the half with a 52-yard dart from Hollowell on the left side to give Caldwell County their largest lead of the night just 16 seconds into the third quarter at 28-20.
The explosion would be short-lived, as Jordon polished off several first down chances for Trigg County to get inside the pylon and trim the deficit to 28-26 midway through the third quarter on a clutch 22-yard rush.
Then came Tripp Branch, who turned on the turbo and hauled in a 42-yard touchdown from Beshear on a drive that took about 30 seconds to take Caldwell County up 35-26 with four minutes to go in the third.
Thompson took in his own big TD pass 75 yards from Jordon on the next possession as Trigg County just would not go away, grinding out this one to keep a one-point deficit at 35-34.
Caldwell County received their third touchdown of the third quarter after Hollowell put Beshear in position to score from four yards out 42-34 Tigers heading to the fourth quarter.
After a big 4th and 1 stop from the Caldwell County defense early in the fourth, Hollowell made one of his biggest plays of the season with an 81-yard rush to the house with 10 minutes left to give Caldwell County their largest lead and their first bit of breathing room of the night at 49-34 over Trigg. Hollowell would have two significant rushing touchdowns in the second half for a combined 133 yards.
The Tigers' 15 point lead was trimmed with 8:03 left when Jordon walked in on a short score at 49-40, then Jordon doubled up and found a 23-yard connection to Bridges to narrow the gap to 49-47 with 4:40 to go, but over 130 yards of penalties crippled them from tying or taking the lead.
Hollowell's 10-yard response score and fourth TD of the night wrapped it up for Caldwell County with 2:40 to play at 56-47.
Trigg County trimmed it to 56-54 with 1:12 remaining on a six-yard score, but the Tigers went into victory formation after a failed onside kick attempt.
Caldwell County is now 12-10 in the last 22 regular season meetings with Trigg County, and have win the last seven.
Ironically, that loss to Trigg County came the very same season that Caldwell got to the 2012 state championship game, and is memorable for being called early with 5:42 seconds remaining in the game.
Caldwell County will return home to see the same Murray High team that they defeated 42-40 at Ty Holland this time next week as they host the first round of the Class 2A KHSAA Playoffs in Princeton under the new playoff format.
It will be a different look, as Murray High senior quarterback Hunter Utley is out for the season with a recent wrist injury. Kickoff at Tiger Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.
Week 10 Box Score
CALDWELL COUNTY 56, Trigg County 54
Caldwell County 7 14 21 14 - 56
Trigg County 14 6 14 20 - 54
TC: Cam Jordan 1-yard run (PAT NO GOOD) 0-6, 5:44 1Q
CC:Tate VanHooser 18-yard catch from Beshear (Vivrette PAT GOOD) 7-6, 4:40 1Q
TC: Josh Visongardi from Jordan 4-yard pass (2-pt conversion GOOD) 7-14, 2:31 1Q
CC: Russ Beshear keeper 9-yards (Vivrette PAT GOOD) 14-14, 10:30 2Q
CC:De'Eric Hollowell 9-yard rush (PAT GOOD) 21-14, 4:51 2Q
TC: Jordan 10-yard pass to Thompson (PAT NO GOOD) 21-20, 1:10 2Q
CC: De'Eric Hollowell 52-yard score (PAT GOOD) 28-20, 11:44 3Q
TC: Cam Jordon 22-yard score (2-PT NO GOOD) 28-26, 7:34 3Q
CC: Tripp Branch 42-yard score from Beshear (PAT GOOD) 35-26, 4:00 3Q
TC: Kion Thompson 75-yard score (2-PT conversion GOOD) 35-34, 3:54 3Q
CC: Russ Beshear 4-yard score (PAT GOOD) 42-34, :40 3Q
CC: De'Eric Hollowell 81-yard score (PAT GOOD) 49-34 10:33 4Q
TC: Cam Jordon 1-yard score (2-PT conversion NO GOOD) 49-40 8:03 4Q
TC: Jordon 23 yard pass to Bridges (PAT GOOD) 49-47, 4:40 4Q
CC: Hollowell 10-yard score (PAT GOOD) 56-47, 2:40 4Q
TC: 6-yard score (PAT GOOD) 56-54, 1:12 4Q