BUCKNER, Ky. — “Incredible” is probably an inadequate adjective to describe the irony accompanying Oldham County’s 56-13 rout of Shelby County Friday night.
Not much went wrong for the Colonels as they notched their second win in as many tries but two plays that didn’t quite go as planned might have said more about Oldham’s approach to Friday nights in 2021 than those ground-chewing drives or quick strike bombs.
Starting at their own 32 following the opening kickoff, the Colonels had nothing to do with that standard off-tackle run to open the game. Quarterback Sam Young took the snap, then threw deep.
We are talking DEEEEEEPPPPP. Think 35-40 yards downfield. Something didn’t click in the route and the ball fell harmlessly to the Bell Field turf.
But a statement had undoubtedly been made: Oldham County is gonna take it to you. Be ready
“I just felt like with their man coverage, we were going to be aggressive,” Oldham County coach TaShawn McBroom said. “I am confident in my quarterback and my skill guys. These guys worked hard all summer in the passing game so I am real confident in them.”
The Colonels eventually drove to the Shelby County 15 where the Colonels fumbled.
Later in the first quarter, the Colonels had a few miscues and were looking at a fourth-and-12 at the Shelby 47. Conventional wisdom says punt to back the Rockets to near their own goal line.
Punt? Are you kidding?
The Colonels went for it. Young scrambled but came up short, turning the ball over on downs.
“I don’t want to punt the ball,” McBroom explained. “It was on this side of the 50, in their territory, so I am going to take a shot. With the quarterback I’ve got, I think he will give us a chance.”
Even when Young was a few yards short, there were no worries. Shelby turned the ball back over on the next play and the Colonels wasted no time converting that miscue into six points with Grant Gilchrist doing the honors.
After spotting Shelby a tying touchdown, the Colonels struck quickly, with Young combining with Justin Ruffin on a 45-yard scoring strike in the final second of the first quarter. It would start an avalanche of points that saw Oldham explode to a 42-6 halftime lead. By the start of the second half, the Colonels had already invoked the running clock rule.
It was exactly as McBroom had promised in the pre-season: Play fast. Play in-your-face. Play to
get better. And play with a long postseason run in mind.
“We want to be aggressive,” Young said of throwing the bomb on the first play. “We knew we could run the ball against them but we wanted to test them and take a shot in man coverage.”
Young did much as he pleased, underscoring McBroom’s assertion that his 6-4, 190-pound senior is one of the state’s best quarterbacks. Young showed a strong and accurate arm and would likely have had even more passing yards if not for the normal early-season miscues. At least one sure touchdown throw slipped through a receiver’s hands. And there were several occasions that the quarterback and receiver’s communication wires were crossed.
But they were few.
As for Young, his stats might be a bit of an understatement. He threw only 11 passes, completing six for 188 yards. However, three of those six completions went for scores. On the ground, he covered 46 yards in 11 carries. Perhaps it was the timing of when Young struck, but it sure felt like his numbers were bigger.
But given the rowdy celebration the Colonels enjoyed with their raucous Colonel Nation student section, it was apparent the only numbers that mattered were 56-13 and the 2-0 record.
Oldham could be a force in McBroom’s first year as a head coach. The Colonels have speed in the skill positions and they have a swagger that all of the great teams possess. “We have seniors at just about every position and we have a lot of leadership out there,” Young said.
And when promoted from his position as a Colonel assistant coach, McBroom promised a relentless attack. So far the Colonels are delivering. In Week One, the Colonels won at Simon Kenton, a perennial powerhouse that had not lost a season opener since 2010.
“That was a team win,” McBroom said. “Our guys were focused.”
Friday, Oldham overpowered an old rival mired in a five-game losing streak. Shelby had some talent, especially in the skill positions, but had some issues holding onto the ball and keeping anything going. Oldham was so much superior it is difficult to determine where the Colonels are going into Week Three.
This much we know: Oldham County is talented in many areas. The Colonels boast a stellar quarterback. And Oldham is enthusiastic, a reflection of their first-year coach.
What we don’t know is just where the Colonels stack up with district foes and the Class 6A big boys. Bryan Station, George Rogers Clark and Madison Central have all tasted early-season defeats.
“We just need to take one game at a time,” Young said.
And McBroom, a study in intensity on the sideline, says that approach is a key ingredient in Oldham County’s quest for greatness.
“I need to keep our guys focused,” he said. “Sometimes, I think we are too loose. I want th4em to pay attention to the details each week and we are going to keep at it so we will be strong come November or December.”
**Thinking back to when teams gathered to practice in mid-July, there was so much optimism that unlike 2020, the 2021 season would go off with few interruptions
COVID said, “Not so fast.”
According to the KHSAA website, 23 teams suffered losses because of COVID. Unlike a year ago, when a canceled game did not count against the won-loss record, this season, the team that must cancel because of COVID protocols has to forfeit.
It has resulted in some strange results being reported, such as N/A 1, Fairdale 0.
Fairdale was to have played South Oldham Friday night, but had to cancel late. South was able to pick up a game with Silver Creek (Indiana) with the Dragons picking up a 24-21 home field win.
There were at least 14 such games in Kentucky last weekend with the team allowed to play being able to pick up another opponent. Perhaps the biggest one was played in Lexington, where Lexington Catholic had been scheduled to play Johnson Central. When COVID protocols forced Johnson Central out of the game, Lexington Catholic was able to schedule Pulaski County.
Pulaski had been scheduled to play Wayne County, but Wayne had to cancel.
Catholic and Pulaski put on one for the ages with Catholic winning, 38-36, on a 47-yard field goal on the game’s final play.
Perhaps the biggest cancellation came when Trinity had to call off a game at Cincinnati Moeller. In all, 23 games in Kentucky were canceled in Week Two.
We just hope there are few disruptions, but aren’t holding our breath.