Freshmen Football Finishes 6-4

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Freshmen Football Finishes 6-4

Jason Ashburn, Freshman Coach

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The GRC freshman football team played its last game of the season in late October at an event called CHAMP DAY. Their opponent was Dunbar High School and at the end of regulation, the score was tied 12-12 thanks to two rushing TD’s by Azzy Israel. The overtime was exciting as both teams scored again.

However, a GRC penalty negated the Cardinals touchdown and the young team could not find the end zone again. Dunbar won 18-12 in overtime. “Two good teams played that day,” said Coach Jason Ashburn. “We made mistakes, and our special teams struggled, but the overall team effort was undeniable.”

The Cardinals began the season going 4-0. In the beginning, they were on fire as they notched wins over Douglass, Scott Co., Dunbar, and Henry Clay. Their first loss was at the hands of Lexington Catholic, who eventually went on to win the Bluegrass Conference Championship. After losing that game by way of committing five costly turnovers, the Cards knew they were good enough to beat anybody.

They knew they had the talent, depth, and team speed to win a championship. Aside from the Catholic game, the average margin of loss for the freshmen was only four points per game. “No one dominated us. We were competitive in every game — lost one game by two points, lost another by four, and lost one in overtime. I’m proud of these kids. I love my players and love the effort and team unity they showed,” said Ashburn.

By the numbers, the team was very impressive. The defense logged 11 interceptions and forced 6 fumbles on the year. They also earned a safety and shut out against Tates Creek in a dominant win, 40-6 (the six coming from a special teams play).

Azzy Israel and Colby Ritchie led the team in tackles while Dawson Gay and Jonathan Rieteral led the team interceptions, with four apiece. Ashton Boyken and Tony Kirk coached the defense for the freshman team.

Quarterback Jordan Manley led a high powered offense behind his 12 TD passes and two rushing TD’s. His favorite target was wide receiver Dawson Gay who had 8 receiving TD’s on the season including an 85-yard strike in a home game verse Madison Southern.

The offensive line was led by Coach John Hendricks. It was one of the best offensive lines in the conference according to Coach Ashburn. Tommy Wright, Quin Dixon, Sam Neeley, Sam Williams, Blake Freeman, Tate Richardson, Dylan Gibson, and Bryson Waller contributed in big ways. These players helped Azzy Israel rush for 11 TDs on the season. His longest run on the year was an 83-yard scamper against Madison Central.

GRC Head Coach Dr. Oliver Lucas coined this freshman class “THE CHOSEN FEW.” This group took pride in their name, took pride in their play, and put together one of the best freshman seasons in recent history. The future is bright for GRC football.