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By JOSH CLAYWELL firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT KNOX — The Fort Knox Eagles were oh-so-close to ending their long losing streak last week against the visiting Hart County Raiders.
Fort Knox (0-2), which has lost 23 consecutive games dating back to the 2005 season finale, led the Raiders, 7-6 in the third quarter before a blocked punt led to the game-winning touchdown at McAdams Field.
“It was tough. It was bad because they had practiced hard and done everything right,” Fort Knox assistant coach/defensive coordinator Mike Marksbury said. “It just seemed like there was a breakdown on offense all night long.”
Now, Marksbury hopes the Eagles can put two and two together when they travel to Hawesville to take on the host Hancock County Hornets (0-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Like last year, the Hornets enter the game on a two-game losing streak, having lost to Ohio County and Green County in the first two weeks of the season.
“They’re looking to get on the winning side,” Marksbury said of Hancock County, which is coached by Chris Morris. “It should be a good game.”
And it will be a reunion of sorts for Morris, Marksbury and Fort Knox head coach Brandon Combs as the trio coached at Nelson County before Combs and Marksbury left for Lewis County.
Morris is in his second year at Hancock County, where he went 4-7 in his first season.
“We’ve all had some good-natured ribbing this week,” Marksbury said. “After coaching with him for four years you kind of know what he wants to do. At the same time, he knows some of what we’re going to do. He’s got a solid team.”
The Hornets have been outscored, 73-8 after being shut out by Class 2-A Green County last week.
Marksbury knows his defense, which has forced nine turnovers this season, will have to play a decent game to keep Hancock County off the scoreboard for the second week in a row.
“The defense has been playing really well,” Marksbury said. “They just kept stopping Hart County all night last week.”
But the one miscue on special teams did the Eagles in. And to make matters worse, Fort Knox senior quarterback Scott Hubner was intercepted with about 4 minutes left to play.
“They (Hart County) were bringing the heat and kept flushing our quarterback out of the pocket,” Marksbury said. “We struggled to get open and we struggled to give Scott the time he needed in the pocket. It’s just a learning experience for us.
“It was good for the kids to see that their hard work can pay off, because we were right there,” he added. “We just had a breakdown on the punt. We learned a lot from it.”
But still, Marksbury would have liked to see the streak end last week, especially given the Eagles’ schedule over the remainder of the season.
Following Hancock County, Fort Knox hosts rival Elizabethtown (2-0), plays at district rival Danville (2-0) and hosts Fort Campbell (2-0) in the annual Army Bowl and Washington County (1-1) before getting a week off.
The Eagles then close the season with road games at district rival Bardstown (0-2), Louisville Shawnee (0-1) and Bardstown Bethlehem (0-2).
“Friday night was a tough one. We see the schedule that we’ve got coming up,” Marksbury said. “It would have been nice to get that ice broken last week. Hopefully sometime soon we can break the ice and end the streak.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752