It took until the third quarter, but Elizabethtown football backed up its No. 1 ranking in the 3-A polls Friday night. Traveling to Hodgenville to take on LaRue County, the Panthers trailed the Hawks at halftime before taking off for a 53-20 District 3 victory.
Elizabethtown got on the board first when quarterback Clay Games connected with Camran McNeil on a seven-yard touchdown pass to close out the game’s first drive.
LaRue County responded on its ensuing offensive possession when Jeremiah Belton ran 35 yards to the end zone. Belton’s touchdown tied the game at 6-6 with 4:37 left in the first quarter after a missed extra point by the Panthers and a failed two-point conversion by the Hawks.
The back-and-forth start to the game continued on the following Elizabethtown possession when Games completed a deep pass to Alandre Murphy for a 60-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and the Panthers finished the first quarter up 12-6.
It didn’t take long for LaRue County to answer once the second quarter got started. Getting the ball back after Elizabethtown went three and out, Hawks quarterback Cutter Boley connected with Kellen Bowen for 51 yards and a touchdown. Boley found Bowen again on the two-point conversion attempt to put LaRue County up 14-12 with 10:14 left in the first half.
Elizabethtown went into halftime still trailing by two, but returned from the break to dominate the second half.
The Panthers started off with a 66-yard touchdown run by McNeil to put themselves up 18-14 with 10:29 left in the third quarter. McNeil was back in the end zone just under seven minutes later when he and Games connected on another touchdown pass, this time from 10 yards out.
The Elizabethtown defense added to the team’s lead shortly after when Trey Durbin recovered a fumble and took it back to the end zone. Another PAT put the Panthers up 32-14 on the Hawks with over three minutes left to play in the quarter.
A 57-yard Kam Sherrard touchdown run wrapped up a 27-point third quarter for Elizabethtown, with the Hawks trailing 39-14.
After another touchdown by McNeil early in the fourth quarter, LaRue County found one more when Boley hit Preston Self from 12 yards out to make it a 46-20 Elizabethtown lead.
The Panthers responded with one more touchdown courtesy of Kam Sherrard to bring the game to its final score.
The win moved Elizabethtown to 6-0 on the season ahead of a week 7 game against Bardstown. LaRue County fell to 3-2, with its only other loss coming against the Tigers on Sept. 25.
See more on the game in Sunday's print edition of The News-Enterprise.