Switzerland County football put up points on both offense and defense in the first half to seize a 9-0 halftime lead.
But visiting Gallatin County grabbed some of that momentum back with a touchdown in the third quarter that put the pressure right back on the Pacers and then made big play after big play in the Wildcats’ final series.
But in the end the Pacers’ defense ultimately locked down the win with three fumble recoveries in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 15-6 victory on Friday in Vevay.
Logan Skaggs came up big for the Pacers — scoring both of the Switzerland County’s touchdowns — the first with 3:30 left in the first quarter that included a Sam White extra point to give Switzerland to 7-0 lead and the second with 5:49 left in the game to nail down the win.
“One of the guys that has energy and passion on both sides is Skaggs,” Jesop said. “He is super excited to even touch the ball and it’s been his dream to do that. He was very happy and I’m glad on our home opener for the senior to get the touchdown.”
In the second quarter, Cade Rider caught a 67-yard pass from freshman quarterback Bryce Turner and looked to be off to the races before being tackled just a few yards short of the goal line. Soon after that drive stalled but it pinned Gallatin County deep in its own territory and the Pacers’ capitalized by blocking the Wildcats punt on fourth down with the ball going through the end zone for the safety to extend the lead to 9-0.
In the third quarter, Gallatin put together a great drive that got kickstarted by a 65-yard run by Danny Hudepohl on the first play of the possession. The Wildcats eventually capped the drive with Hudepohl passing to Colton Shawver for the one-yard touchdown that cut the Pacers’ lead to 9-6.
Dez Lange, Skaggs and Tre Batchelor recovered the three fourth quarter fumbles for the Pacers. Skaggs converted one of those takeaways for the 6-yard touchdown run with 5:08 left in the game and that was all the cushion the Pacers would need to see the win through.
“I’ve been calling (Skaggs) ‘The Irish Wolverine,’” said Jesop. “He is a character and that’s you want your middle linebacker to be. He is disciplined, he listens, he does what we ask him to do and he picks his spots.”
The running attack for the Pacers was pretty solid with Skaggs, who also plays running back, finishing with three carries for 21 yards and the two touchdowns while adding the recovered fumble on defense. Batchelor had 12 carries for 41 yards and Hunter Records had nine carries for 45 yards to go with four tackles on defense. Zack Weaver finished with five tackles and two sacks and Turner was 2-for-2 passing for 82 yards.
Switzerland travels to Carrollton, Kentucky, next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a game that both teams scheduled with each other due after the cancellation of Trimble County’s football season. Carroll, a 24-18 quadruple overtime loser at Henry County Friday night, and Switzerland were both to play Trimble in 2018 and when Carroll was open on the date of the Switzerland-Trimble game it was a natural fit.
“I know that coach (Hunter) Cantwell will have that team prepared and I know they are a program on the rise and I know he has done a fantastic job over there running a quality program,” Jesop said. “They got a lot of great facilities and some indoor things that they do over the wintertime that keeps their guys involved so their numbers stay high and are going to be good. I know they got some Trimble guys, unfortunately, that transferred over there so they just strengthened their ranks. We had an opportunity to pick them up and we’re going to go over there and play on the turf and hopefully pull out a win.”
FRIDAY’S SWITZERLAND SUMMARY
GALLATIN CO. 0 0 6 0 — 6
SWITZERLAND CO. 7 2 0 6 — 15
(SC)-Logan Skaggs 11 run (Sam White kick), 3:30
(GC)-Colton Shaver 1 pass from Danny Hudepohl (kick failed), 5:08
(SC)-Skaggs 6 run (kick failed), 5:49