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By NATHANIEL BRYAN
FORT KNOX — Late in the first half Friday night at McAdams Field, the sideline yard-marking chains broke down for the second time during the game.
With the workout Micheal Thomas, Cody Withers and the rest Elizabethtown Panthers were giving them, it’s no wonder they were worn out.
Thomas, a senior quarterback, became the first quarterback in Class 3-A to break the 1,000-yard passing mark for the season and Withers, a senior running back, scored three touchdowns as the visiting Panthers surged past former district rival Fort Knox, 56-10.
Thomas, who has run for a touchdown in three straight games, was 18-of-29 passing for 286 yards and three touchdowns and one conversion without being intercepted, giving him 1,186 yards through the air in four games.
“Micheal’s getting better and better every game,” said second-year Elizabethtown coach Brad Todd. “Mentally, he’s really starting to understand it all and he’s putting the ball where it needs to go.”
Elizabethtown (3-1) amassed a season-high 505 offensive yards on 61 plays behind Thomas’ passing and Withers’ rushing.
“We tried to spread the field and get the ball to the outside, because the inside wasn’t working,” said Withers, who had a team-high 78 rushing yards on 13 attempts.
Withers scored on a pair of 2-yard runs, once in the first and the other in the second quarters, and caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third period from freshman back-up quarterback Kyle Todd, who was 7-of-7 for 103 yards and one touchdown without being intercepted.
“That was big for us. Cody’s very versatile. He’s got a great set of hands and he’s a good route runner,” Todd said. “The big thing for us is keeping him fresh because he has to go both ways.”
Elizabethtown senior wide receiver Chris Gohman had a 73-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and finished with game-highs in receptions (nine) and receiving yards (168) for his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game and his fifth straight contest with at least 69 receiving yards. He also had one of the Panthers’ two interceptions.
Senior Trevor Deneen had the other interception and finished with 90 all-purpose yards, catching five passes for 78 yards, returning a punt 8 yards and returning his interception 4 yards.
“Any quarterback in the nation, from high school to maybe even college, would want a receiver like Chris because he finds ways to get open,” said Thomas, the area leader in most passing categories. “Between him and Trevor, I have the utmost faith and trust in both of them.”
As well as Mitchell Henry.
A junior tight end, Henry caught four passes for 63 yards and one touchdown and a 2-point conversion. Through four games, Henry has 10 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
“I was looking at the stats the other day and Mitchell’s got to be the most under looked receiver in the area. He’s got great hands and he’s always open,” Thomas said.
Elizabethtown junior Edmund Allen had 44 rushing yards on three carries with one going for a 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter, while junior Cameron Cochran’s only touch was a 5-yard touchdown reception from Thomas in the final minute of the first half to put the Panthers up 42-7.
Coming off a 42-35 road loss the previous week at Louisville Holy Cross, the Panthers wasted little time leaving the past in the past. They owned a 28-point lead with more than 3 minutes remaining in the first half and scored on six of their first eight possessions.
“I knew we’d come out focused because that loss hurt real bad. We came out and did what we needed to do,” Withers said of the Panthers, who handed the Eagles their 25th consecutive loss dating back to 2005.
Junior Devin Jackson took over for junior Scott Hubner for Fort Knox (0-4) at quarterback and had a solid night. Jackson had a game-high 83 rushing yards on 16 carries and was 5-of-16 passing for 56 yards with one interception. He threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Dario Shelton late in the second quarter to stop Elizabethtown’s 35-0 run to start the game.
Fort Knox junior Emmy Raney, the area’s only female kicker, hit her point-after try in the second quarter and hit a 29-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to draw the game’s loudest ovation of the night.
UP NEXT: Elizabethtown plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Class 3-A, District 3 rival Louisville Central (1-1), which couldn’t play this weekend due to a power outage and the Jefferson County Public Schools’ rule of not playing when school’s cancelled. Fort Knox plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Class 2-A, District 4 rival Danville (2-2), which lost 33-30 Friday night at Winchester George Rogers Clark (also known as Clark County) in overtime.
Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 505-1758
FORT KNOX 10
Elizabethtown 14 28 14 0—56
Fort Knox 0 7 0 3—10
E: Cody Withers 2-yard run (Josh Plant kick), 8:35
E: Chris Gohman 73-yard pass from Micheal Thomas (Plant kick), 4:42
E: Withers 2-yard run (kick failed), 9:10
E: Edmund Allen 7-yard run (Mitchell Henry pass from Thomas), 7:07
E: Thomas 4-yard run (Plant kick), 3:36
FK: Dario Shelton 26-yard pass from Devin Jackson (Emmy Raney kick), 1:36
E: Cameron Cochran 5-yard pass from Thomas (Plant kick), 0:59
E: Henry 15-yard pass from Thomas (Plant kick), 7:20
E: Withers 14-yard pass from Kyle Todd (Plant kick), 0:11
FK: Raney 29-yard field goal, 4:14
Yards Rush 116 109
Yards Pass 389 89
Total Yards 505 198
Passing 25-36-0 10-28-2
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 1/1
Penalties/Yds 6/73 6/39
Rushing: ELIZABETHTOWN — Cody Withers 13-78, Edmund Allen 3-44, Micheal Thomas 6-26, D.J. Barnett 1-0, Kyle Todd 2-(-32). FORT KNOX — Devin Jackson 16-83, Dario Shelton 7-33, Jermell Rogers 1-4, Antonio Fed 1-0, Scott Hubner 3-(-11).
Passing: ELIZABETHTOWN — Micheal Thomas 18-29-0, 286 yards; Kyle Todd 7-7-0, 103 yards. FORT KNOX — Devin Jackson 5-16-1, 56 yards; Scott Hubner 5-12-1, 33 yards.
Receiving: ELIZABETHTOWN — Chris Gohman 9-168, Trevor Deneen 5-78, Mitchell Henry 4-63, Cody Withers 3-34, Ronald Phillips 2-30, Edmund Allen 1-11, Cameron Cochran 1-5. FORT KNOX — Lance Lane 5-12, Dario Shelton 2-37, Jermell Rogers 2-31, Fadore Bing 1-9.