Fern Creek (7-3) will play at Butler (8-2) in a second-round game next week
Senior Cameron Petty again proved to be the anchor of Fern Creek High School’s rushing attack, and freshman Devon Blincoe continued to emerge as the star of the future.
Petty rushed for a team-high 92 yards and Blincoe broke free for a big touchdown run in the third quarter as the host Tigers beat Seneca 16-13 on Friday in a first-round game of the Class 6-A playoffs.
The Tigers kept the ball on the ground most of the night — running on 46 of 58 plays — controlled time of possession and picked up their first playoff victory since 2010.
“We needed yards on the ground because we weren’t really throwing the ball,” Petty said. “We needed the backfield to come through tonight, and we did. We can do better, though.”
Fern Creek (7-3) will play at Butler (8-2) in a second-round game next week. The teams were scheduled to play on the opening night of the season back in August, but the game was canceled by lightning.
“We’ve been looking forward to playing them all year,” Petty said.
Travon Harris rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries to lead Seneca (5-6). The Redhawks scored the final 13 points of the game and got the ball with a chance to win in the final two minutes but couldn’t mount a drive.
Seneca coach LaVell Boyd said Fern Creek’s advantage in time of possession (28:41-19:19) was key. Seneca ran just 14 plays and managed only three first downs in the first half.
“They did a good job of controlling the clock,” said Boyd, whose team also lost to Fern Creek, 30-20, in the regular season. “My hat goes off to them. They did a good job and had a good game plan. I thought we had a chance to win it at the end, but we came up a little short.”
The Tigers ran 8:56 off the clock on the first possession of the game but settled for a 32-yard field goal by Evan Flener for a 3-0 lead. Shamar Bryant’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Lamarius Kinslow made it 10-0 with 52 seconds left in the first half.
Fern Creek appeared to put the game away on its first drive of the third quarter. On fourth-and-one, Blincoe busted up the gut for a 45-yard touchdown run and a 16-0 lead at the 5:56 mark.
Blincoe has played just three varsity games this season but has rushed for 280 yards and five touchdowns. He had 75 yards on eight carries Friday. Coach Josh Abell said he hesitated to play Blincoe earlier in the season because of off-the-field issues.
“When he gets that, he’ll be the total package,” Abell said. “He’ll be a great player, and he knows it. … Cam Petty is the guy we can trust with whatever we want him to do. He runs the ball hard despite being 150 pounds.”
Jamison White’s 19-yard touchdown run pulled Seneca within 16-6 with 3:56 left in the third quarter, and Eric Woods’ 1-yard TD run made it 16-13 with 2:53 remaining in the fourth.
Fern Creek turned the ball over on downs with 1:13 left, giving Seneca a final chance from its own 31-yard line. But a 16-yard holding penalty on first down started the Redhawks in the wrong direction, and a sack of quarterback Tylan Harbin by Connor Anderson and Julian Aguirre on third down moved Seneca back to its 7. Harbin’s pass on the final play of the game fell incomplete.
Abell wasn’t pleased with managing just 93 yards of offense in the second half but was thrilled to see his team move on in the playoffs.
“Overall I thought we played a really good game from start to finish, despite the fourth quarter,” he said. “We’re really proud of our guys.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
FC – Evan Flener 32 FG; FC – Lamarius Kinslow 3 pass from Shamar Bryant (Flener kick); FC – Devon Blincoe 45 run (Flener kick); S – Jamison White 19 run (run failed); S – Eric Woods 1 run (Chris Hodson kick).