That summed up the Wildcats’ 26-14 second round loss in the Class 2A playoffs last Friday in Owensboro.
Trigg County was outscored 12-0 in the second half, and their offense, which rolled up 138 rushing yards in the first half, was held to 44 after halftime.
Trigg’s season ends with a 10-2 record, while the Aces improve to 8-4 and will face Glasgow in the Region I title game Friday in Owensboro.
Glasgow quarterback Dakota Elmore threw for five touchdowns as the Scotties upset Fort Campbell 36-28 in overtime.
For the Wildcats, it was a stinging loss – their second season-ender to the Aces in as many seasons.
"It was just one of those nights. I don’t remember us catching a break all night," said Wildcat head coach Curtis Higgins. "We were tighter than I thought we would be. I thought we could control the clock and cut down on their big plays."
The plan worked early as the Wildcats owned the football for 18:48 of the first half, churning out chunks of yardage on first and second downs.
Starting deep in their own territory on their second drive, the Wildcats picked up a pair of first downs but were forced to punt when their drive stalled at their 32-yard line.
That’s when the Aces were the beneficiary of the game’s first big break.
On fourth down, the snap sailed over the head of punter Jacob Wadlington, who appeared to have plenty of time to pick up the football. Instead, he tried to kick the football out of the back of the end zone.
One official blew his whistle and signaled a touchback before Catholic’s Ryan Bowlds landed on the football before it went out of the back of the end zone.
After a discussion, the officials declared the play a touchdown to give the Aces a 7-0.
Higgins admitted he didn’t see the play unfold, but did hear a whistle and felt the play should have been replayed because of the inadvertent whistle.
"I didn’t see it. I don’t know where Jacob learned that. I guess he just freaked out," he said.
Higgins called a timeout to argue his case but to no avail.
"The referee blew his whistle too early. It was an inadvertent whistle and he missed that call. It should have been a dead play, and I guess he just didn’t have enough guts to take that touchdown away from them."
Trigg County answered with a pair of long drives culminated in 3-yard touchdown runs by Steven Wadlington.
The first covered 69 yards and lasted 12 plays. His first TD run on the first play of the second quarter tied the game at 7-7.
Trigg got the ball back when Aces’ quarterback Zack Barnard’s pass was deflected by Wildcat defensive back Devin Tejada and into the hands of Jake Wallace.
Nine plays later, Trigg took a 14-7 lead on Wadlington’s second scoring run with 7:19 left in the half.
After both teams traded punts, the Aces tied the game on their next drive, aided by a pass interference penalty on a third down play.
Barnard hooked up with Jacob Randolph on a 40-yard pass to the Wildcat 22-yard line. After a sack by Trigg’s Brandon Bowron, Barnard’s pass to Heath Wright was hauled in at the 1-yard line.
Houston Kamuf took it in on the next play to tie the game at 14 with 1:04 left in the half.
The game turned on Trigg’s second possession of the second half.
Facing fourth down and inches at the Catholic 39-yard line, Tommy Woodall appeared to pick up the first down on a quarterback sneak but the spot of the football left him about an inch short.
Catholic took quick advantage as Barnard hooked up with Wright on a 61-yard touchdown pass across the middle of the field. Wright’s antics in the end zone earned him a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, and Jared Johnson missed the 25-yard extra point for a 20-14 Catholic lead.
"Tommy checked off to the sneak, and he needed three inches. I guarantee you his whole body was beyond (center) Shane’s (Patterson) body. And then they pushed him back. The linesman said he couldn’t make the call," Higgins explained afterward.
Trigg County only crossed midfield once more in their next four drives as Catholic shut down Trigg County’s ground game.
Wadlington had 137 rushing yards on 26 carries in the first half alone but was limited to 21 yards on ten second half carries.
"I don’t think he got tired. They made some adjustments in the second half," Higgins said. "We took the wind, and we didn’t do anything with it. Maybe I got too conservative in my play calling."
With the wind at their backs, the Wildcats ran on each of their ten third quarter snaps and didn’t complete a pass until the 9:30 mark of the fourth quarter.
Trigg County was outgained 217-123 in the second half by the Aces.
"They’re so big up front, we had to make some adjustments and get some penetration up front out of a base defense," said Aces head coach John Edge, who said a few added stunts on defense helped contain Trigg’s running game. "They’re a tough football team. Their size is unbelievable. It’s hard to adjust to them."
Catholic sewed up the game when Randolph made a sliding catch on third down for a 30-yard pickup.
On the next play, Wright hauled in a 31-yard pass from Barnard in the left corner of the end zone for a 26-14 lead with 6:30 left.
Wright finished the game with six catches for 145 yards and two scores.
Barnard, who has committed to play for Marshall, was 8-of-20 passing for 215 yards and two scores. He was 5-of-9 for 137 yards in the second half.
Trigg’s next two drives ended in interceptions, including the last one in the end zone.
Woodall finished 7-of-16 through the air for 79 yards.
Jamaal Boyd caught four passes for 70 yards.
In an interesting change of events from last year, the Aces hired the man widely responsible for their loss to Elizabethtown in the state semifinals.
Princeton native Tony Franklin, a former assistant coach at Kentucky Hal Mumme, was brought in by Edge to coach the offense during the week and call the plays for the Aces’ offense on Friday nights so Edge could concentrate on calling the defense. Franklin did the same thing for Elizabethtown last year.
"Tony has helped me out so much by taking control of offense, which allowed me to take control of defense. He’s a professional. He’s the best," Edge said. "It’s hard calling both sides of the football. It gives you a headache when you go home."
The result was 296 yards of offense and ended a streak of five straight Wildcat opponents being held to under 220 yards of offense.
Barnard was able to find open receivers when the running game got on track in the second half.
Trigg’s defense was able to hold the Aces to one rushing yard on six attempts in the first 12 minutes, but Houston Kamuf found some room in the middle of the field in the second half.
The junior back had 99 yards on 20 carries, including 85 in the second half.
Higgins said Kamuf’s success running the ball made it easier for Barnard to hit the open receivers in the second half.
"We were worried about their screens, and our linebackers were worried about their backs too much," he said.
The 10-win season was Trigg County’s sixth in school history and third in the past five years, but the Wildcats have not won a road playoff game since the second round of 1989.