PREP FOOTBALL: PRP ousts Meade from playoffs, 27-7 (11/16)

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By Josh Claywell

By JOSH CLAYWELL jclaywell@thenewsenterprise.com

BRANDENBURG — The Meade County Green Wave had a storybook ending to their season Friday night.

It just wasn’t the happy-go-lucky ending one might expect.

The visiting Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park Panthers forced five Meade County turnovers – three interceptions and two fumbles – en route to a 27-7 win in the first round of the Class 6-A state playoffs at Hamilton Field.

“It’s been the story of our year. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I can tell you in the five losses we’ve had prior to tonight’s game we probably had around 20 to 22 turnovers,” Meade County coach Larry Mofield said. “In the five wins that we had, I bet you that we had six or less turnovers. That’s just been the story of our season.”

In five first-half possessions, the Green Wave (5-6) turned the ball over four times as junior quarterback Tyler Mattingly was intercepted twice and senior fullback Alex Furnival and junior fullback Tyler Crow each lost a fumble.

Pleasure Ridge Park (5-4) forced two of the turnovers inside the red zone and converted them into 14 points.

“We had opportunities tonight. But it’s hard when you come to the end of the road. I don’t know,” Mofield said. “I’ve never figured out how you lose. You don’t accept it in any fashion. But boy, it’s tough when you know that you had some shots.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Panthers took a 7-0 lead when sophomore fullback Woody Cabbil scored on a 1-yard run and junior kicker Taylor Banks tacked on the point-after try with 11:04 left before intermission.

The Green Wave started the ensuing possession on their 29-yard line. After a Meade County personal foul, Crow rushed for 2 yards before fumbling.

PRP’s lead swelled to 14-0 as senior tight end Sam Ellis caught a 16-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback David West with 50 seconds left in the half.

“PRP’s a good football team. You’ve got to give them some credit, too, for knocking the ball loose and making us make mistakes,” Mofield said. “We didn’t help our cause by fumbling the ball. It’s tough to reflect on now because you know there’s no tomorrow.”

The Green Wave moved the ball inside the red zone to start the third quarter, reaching the PRP 9, but Mattingly was sacked for a big loss on second down and threw an incomplete pass on third down.

The Green Wave lined up to attempt a 36-yard field goal by senior kicker Jonah Cundiff but instead tried to catch the Panthers off guard with a pass. Senior wide receiver Michael Addesa slipped behind the PRP secondary, but Mattingly’s pass sailed over his head and through the end zone.

After the teams each punted twice, Meade County finally got on the board with 10:50 left to play when Furnival scored on a 16-yard run and Cundiff tacked on the point after.

“I thought our kids showed some resiliency coming out and scoring early in the fourth quarter when it was 14-0. That’s a whole three quarters without scoring and our kids hung in there and fought and cut it to 14-7,” Mofield said. “We needed a play like that, and he (Furnival) made a play. He turned it into a big run and we got a little momentum. And then PRP just kind of took it away from us.”

But that was as close as the Green Wave would get.

The Panthers drove the ball 41 yards on nine plays on the ensuing drive, which was capped by West on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 6:29 remaining.

The drive was aided by a controversial pass interference call against Meade County when the Panthers were trying to convert a fourth-and-4 from the 24.

“They play that kind of broke our backs was the pass interference. One call doesn’t kill you, but in a fourth-down situation like that, where it looks like we’ve got them held, we had a hard time recovering from that,” Mofield said.

Meade County was forced to punt on its next drive, which stalled when a snap sailed over Mattingly’s head resulting in a 20-yard loss, before the Green Wave stopped PRP on a fourth-down play on the Panthers’ next drive.

On the first play from the PRP 19, Mattingly was intercepted by senior Jacob Law, who returned the interception 29 yards for a touchdown with 38.2 seconds left.

“When they needed to make some big plays, they made plays to extend some drives,” Mofield said. “It’s tough for us to drive the ball 80 or 90 yards consistently. You have to have good field position and you have to hang on to the ball, and we didn’t do either of those.”

PRP advances to face top-ranked Louisville St. Xavier, which moved into the second round with a 72-7 win over Nelson County on Friday.

Josh Claywell can be reached at 505-1752