The Eminence Warriors got off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2000 by dominating Friday’s football game against Bracken County. With a 46-0 shutout victory, which was in conjunction with Eminence’s homecoming, the Warriors have sealed a spot in the state playoffs for the second straight season and now have their eyes on home field advantage.
If the Warriors can defeat either Gallatin County this Friday or Frankfort Oct. 24, they will host a playoff game for the first time in school history.
With five teams in Eminence’s district, the top two teams will play at home in the opening round, teams three and four will be on the road and team five will be left out. The Bracken win guaranteed Eminence at least a No. 3 seed.
“It was a good win, and keeps us moving towards our goals,” Eminence coach Steve Frommeyer said after his team displayed domination on the field. “We had a lot of distractions with homecoming and all the activities we had going on, but our kids came out ready to play. We took control of the game early. I thought we played really focused.”
With an even 100 yards, TJ Cooper has now rushed for 100 or more yards in each of Eminence’s four games this season. He got the Warriors rolling early against Bracken with a 7-yard touchdown run, followed by the 2-point conversion during the first quarter. Ed Berry, another key ingredient to Eminence’s success so far, then caught a pass from Dre Banta on an 81-yard play for a touchdown, and Cooper once again ran in the 2-point conversion.
Berry and the Warriors really started to do some damage on the scoreboard when the senior ran back two Bracken punts for touchdowns before the opening quarter came to an end. He returned the first 55 yards and the second 60 yards with just a few minutes separating the back-to-back runs.
During the second quarter, fullback Brad Tapia took the handoff and bullied his way 1 yard into the end zone to put the Warriors ahead 34-0 at the half.
Cooper scored once in the third quarter on a 6-yard run and Byrone Foree snatched the ball from a Bracken player and raced 50 yards to the end zone during the fourth quarter for the 46-0 victory. The Foree TD, which came on the defensive side of the ball when Bracken was trying to gain yards on the ground, impressed Frommeyer.
“It was a nifty play,” Frommeyer said. “He came up on the guy, and as he was tackling him he just ripped the ball from him and kept running. The ball never even touched the ground. I hadn’t see someone do that since Marcus Wright was playing for us.”
As a team, Eminence rushed for 186 yards and passed for 111 yards, but had 524 all-purpose yards with strong play from the special teams and on defense. Berry had four punt returns for 135 yards to go along with his two touchdowns, Zach Raisor had an interception for 42 yards and Foree had his TD fumble recovery.
Individually, Banta was 3-of-10 passing for 111 yards, Berry caught all three of those passes, Cooper had 12 carries for 100 yards, Tapia had six carries for 46 yards and Banta kept the ball four times for 30 yards. Defensively, Tapia had 13 tackles, Jacobi Moore had seven tackles and Michael Snell had six tackles to lead Eminence to its first shutout victory of the season.
Meanwhile, Bracken moved the ball for just 98 total yards with 50 passing and 48 rushing, and was never in serious position to reach the end zone.
“I thought our defense played very well,” Frommeyer said. “They all stayed at home and took care of their responsibilities. They ran full speed and really wanted a shutout win.”
When the Warriors built their early lead, they brought in their younger players to get experience and give their top guys a break. The underclassmen played very well, Frommeyer said. “I was pleased with how they came in and played during that second half. It was very encouraging. They were able to get in there, play hard and take advantage of playing time.”
After the perfect 4-0 start — all home games — Eminence will be on the road for the first time this Friday when the unscratched team travels to Gallatin. The Wildcats are 2-2 with wins over Owen County (27-6) and Trimble (15-6) and losses to Carroll (28-15) and Frankfort (60-0). According to the latest Litkenhous Ratings released earlier this week, Eminence is No. 13 in Class A while Gallatin is No. 22. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
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