Hornets Season Ends Against Redbirds
A playoff type atmosphere filled the air this past Friday night as the Nashville Hornets went up against the West Frankfort Redbirds. Both teams came into the matchup at 5-3 needing wins to secure a playoff berth. A back and forth game throughout, West Frankfort was able to score late, and get a big turnover to defeat the Hornets 33-30.
West Frankfort came out on their first drive of the game, and capitalized on good field position to take an early lead over Nashville. The Redbirds started their drive on the 50 yard line, and needed just three plays to take the lead as Brandon Beery scored from 32 yards out to give West Frankfort an early 7-0 lead. The Hornets would come right back on their next drive of the game, driving 75 yards for the score as Andrew Kash found Ethan Reid for a 30 yard touchdown to tie the game.
After forcing a punt, the Hornets were able to take the lead as the second quarter began. The Hornets got a big play on third and fourteen as Reid jumped up and caught a pass from Kash setting the Hornets up inside the five yard line. Two plays later, Kash would again find Reid, this time for three yards, to put the Hornets on top 14-7.
West Frankfort would not take long to tie the game, as they capped off a seven play drive with a four yard touchdown run from Logan Tomanovich. The extra point tied the game with just over five and a half minutes left in the half.
West Frankfort's defense could not slow down the passing attack of Nashville, as on the Hornets' next drive Kash would find Reid for a 32 yard completion to set Nashville up inside the red zone. The Hornets would take advantage of a pass interference penalty, and Kash would throw his third touchdown of the game, this time to Seth Guinup. Colin Laws would add the extra point to give Nashville a 21-14 lead.
As time wound down in the first half, the Hornets got a huge goal line stand as Cameron Parker picked off a pass from Beery with less than a minute remaining. The interception allowed the Hornets to keep a seven point halftime lead.
After the two teams traded punts to start the second half, West Frankfort capped off a nine play 83 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run from Beery. The Hornets were able to block the extra point attempt, and held a one point lead with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Hornets almost got their first return touchdown since Bryce Harre returned one in 2010. Guinup took the kickoff back to the fifteen yard line before being tackled. Although the Hornets started with great field position, they were only able to gain three yards, and had to settle for a field goal. Laws knocked the ball through for his first career field goal, to give the Hornets a four point lead with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
West Frankfort would take the lead early in the fourth, as Beery scored from 14 yards out to give the Redbirds a 27-24 lead. The Redbirds would not hold the lead for long, as the Hornets took their next drive down the field for a touchdown. Kash would score his fourth touchdown of the game, this time on the ground to give the Hornets a 30-27 lead. But the Hornets defense could not stop Beery as he scored again with six minutes left in the game, to give West Frankfort a 33-30 lead.
The Hornets would have one last chance to win the game. With their drive starting on their own 41 yard line, the Hornets needed a score. The drive started out with Kash getting sacked, but he came back on the next play to deliver a 26 yard pass to Reid. The Hornets would get another big completion to Guinup to keep the drive alive on thrid down. On first down from inside the 25 yard line, Kash was able to run for a first down inside the ten yard line, setting up first and goal from the five. After being unsuccessful on first and second down to get in the end zone, the Hornets faced third and goal from the one. On third down, Kash threw up a pass in the end zone intended for Reid. Both Reid, and Brayden Caldwell went up for the ball, but Caldwell came down with the pass sealing the win and a playoff berth for the Redbirds.
After the game, coach Tim Kuhn talked about the interception. “My two best players, and their best player went and made a better play. We've lived by it, we've died with it.”
Kuhn went on to talk about the game overall. “It was a playoff caliber game for both squads, we had a bunch of young guys that stepped up for us huge. They'd never played Friday night, and in terms of the whole game, I could not be prouder of this group.”
The Hornets finished with 364 total yards in the game, 317 through the air. Kash finished 20-28 for 317 yards and three touchdowns passing on the night. Reid finished with 13 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns. The 317 yards passing and 228 yards receiving were both school records for Nashville High School. Reid leaves Nashville, as the Hornets all time leader in receiving yards, and catches. Reid also holds the school record for yards in a season, and catches in a season. Kash finishes his career as the prolific passer in Nashville history. Kash finishes his career with the most career passing yards, the most career passing attempts, most career touchdown passes, and most passing yards in a season.
Parker finished with four catches for 48 yards in the loss, while Guinup finished with two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown. Neil Kachuba also caught a pass for Nashville for 20 yards. On the ground, Nashville was led by Reid, who finished with 31 yards. Kash added 21 yards on the ground, and the lone rushing touchdown of the game for Nashville. Parker finished with five yards, while Julian Metcalf finished with two yards.
The Hornets finished the season with a 5-4 record