Calloway vs. Hoptown 1

Calloway County's Aaron Fennel, 10, maintains his balance while avoiding a Hopkinsville defender Friday night at Jack Rose Stadium in Murray.

MURRAY — Playoff football returned to Jack Rose Stadium at Calloway County High School Friday night for the first time since 2016 as the Lakers hosted the Hopkinsville Tigers. The Lakers got a solid performance from their defense and a surprisingly creative boost from their offense in the second half. It wasn't enough to overcome a stellar performance from Hopkinsville's Jayden Dillard though, as the Tigers survived a gritty Calloway County team to advance in the KHSAA Class 4A playoffs by a score of 21-17.
 
It was a perfect evening for football, and both teams treated their fans to a well-played game. In their 14-7 regular-season victory of Hopkinsville, the Calloway County defense forced five turnovers. Laker Head Coach Chris Champion knew his team would have to find a way to win the game without the gift of five Tiger turnovers. Champion would prove to be prophetic as Hopkinsville played a clean game. 
 
”We probably played better as a team than we did the first time we played them,” Champion said. ”I couldn't be more proud of the attitude and effort of our kids coming back and playing the way they did. Coming back after we were shut down...being told we couldn't play and then we could play.”
 
After holding Hopkinsville's high powered offense in check on their first possession, the Lakers put together a fantastic drive on their first possession. It started with leading rusher, Zachary Orange running for 11 yards on their first play from scrimmage. The drive included two big third-down conversions including a 15-yard pass from Kanyon Franklin to Jaxson McKay on a third-and-ten. An extra 15 yards was added to the end of the play because of a penalty on Hopkinsville for hitting McKay after he was out of bounds. On the next third-down that Calloway faced, Franklin took the snap and scampered around the right end for a 23-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt failed and the Lakers led 6-0 with 5:51 to go in the first quarter.
 
The lead would be the last for Calloway as Hopkinsville put together an impressive drive on the ensuing possession. Running back, Jayden Dillard was featured prominently on the drive as the Tigers asserted their dominance at the line of a scrimmage. With 1:45 left in the first quarter, Hopkinsville held a 7-6 advantage and Dillard was well on his way to 156 yards rushing. 
 
See a full story in Monday's Ledger & Times

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