“We’ve established that we can run the ball, and we knew we had offensive linemen that could run block and pass block,” Trigg head coach Shannon Burcham said. “The biggest thing is that we didn’t turn the ball over running tonight. That may be the first time all season.”
With the win, Trigg (4-4, 3-1 in 2A 1st District) moved a step closer to hosting its first-round playoff game. Heath (4-4, 2-1) hosts district-leading Murray (8-0, 3-0) on Friday and would cause a three-way tie with an upset win.
“We want to win every week going into the playoffs,” Burcham said. “We want that momentum because we had a slow start. Whoever comes here, that’s fine. Whoever we get in week two if we get there, that’s fine.”
Trigg’s defense put on another strong performance, holding Heath to 47 rushing yards, most of which came late in the fourth quarter with Wildcat reserves on the field. Pirate quarterback Tra Tharp did have a relatively solid night, rushing for 59 yards and passing for 103.
Tharp, however, fell victim on Heath’s first drive to the Wildcat rush and was intercepted by Mitch Rogers near midfield. Trigg’s offense then got on the scoreboard with an eight-play, 58-yard drive capped by Dillon Cionko’s 11-yard touchdown run.
Quarterback Andrew Stewart was intercepted on Trigg’s next drive, but the Wildcat defense held Heath out of the endzone, setting up the ‘Cats second scoring drive, a six-play, 78-yard march that ended when Josh Adams ran 39 yards to the end zone.
The rushing attack continued, led by Cionko, Adams and Akeem Wilson, who ran 22 times for a game-high 116 yards. Cionko scored Trigg’s third touchdown late in the third quarter on a 15-yard run, and Wilson added the next midway through the fourth from three yards out.
Joining the backfield attack was Sean Bebee, who reeled off a 63-yard run before scoring Trigg’s final touchdown of the night from three yards out.
Burcham said it took a while for the ‘Cats to find their dependable core of running backs, but the offensive line, which had another solid outing Friday, has been tough all season.
“We knew our line would be good,” Burcham said. “Other than the first game where we had some bad snaps, everyone’s been 70 percent or better. We just had to find running backs and people that could do what needed to be done in certain places. They’ve all bought in now.”
Defensively, Burcham said the coaching staff had a plan to slow down the athletic Tharp, and it worked.
“We had four or five options defensively, got into a zone coverage and found that we could do that,” Burcham said. “They got us late with a mix of young and old guys on the field. If that’s all they get, that’s alright.”
The defense will be tested again Friday when Trigg hosts Ballard Memorial (2-6). The Bombers average nearly 26 points per contest and notched 40 in a Sept. 18 loss to Murray.
“They’ve got a good quarterback [Alex Mallory], so we know we’ve got to honor everybody and come to play defense,” Burcham said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve been doing offensively, as well. We need to just get better every week, and our kids are buying into that.”
Trigg County will celebrate Senior Night during the game.
Trigg County 35, Heath 14
Friday @ Cadiz
Heath 0 0 0 14
Trigg 7 7 7 14
First downs 10 17
Rushing 23-47 54-391
Passing 12-29-1 3-5-1
Pass. yards 103 27
Total yards 150 418
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties 1-5 7-55
TC: Wilson 22-116; Cionko 13-114; Adams 9-74; Bebee 5-74; Stewart 3-13; Tyler 1-2; Huff 1-(-2)
TC: Stewart 3-5-1 27
TC: McAtee 2-15; Rogers 1-12