MURRAY -- Calloway County's 2019 season and home opener was spoiled in more than one way on Friday night, when Todd County Central came to Jack D. Rose Stadium and edged the Lakers 21-20.
Not only was it a tough loss, but second-year coach Chris Champion may have lost his starting quarterback -- John Foster -- for an extended period of time. He left midway through the third quarter after experiencing serious discomfort in his left shoulder and his Lakers up 14-7, and didn't return for the rest of the game. "It's an injury to his collarbone," Champion said. "He tried to play through it, and I think he stayed in one more play and actually did a great job pitching the ball and we got a big play off of it. But at that point, it was bothering him so bad, he couldn't do anything anymore.
"He'd made a huge run, and I think one of their defensive linemen kind of landed on him awkwardly. It's something with his collarbone, but we just don't know the extent of it yet."
Foster had been playing well. He finished 7-for-15 passing with 52 yards and a touchdown -- a 16-yard fade to Montrell Rogers at the left pylon to give the Lakers a 6-0 lead with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
In his stead, sophomore Kanyon Franklin stepped in admirably. He led a nine-play, 79-yard scoring drive that pushed into the start of the fourth quarter, in which he had a 24-yard fake-and-keep rush, a critical 15-yard third-down completion to Ki Franklin and an 18-yard screen pass to senior wideout Luke Schwepker.
Zach Orange's 3-yard plunge would give the Lakers a 20-15 advantage over the Rebels with just 10:13 remaining in regulation.
But the other big problem on the night? Rebels running back JaTwan Graham and wide receiver DJ Johnson.
Graham had nearly half of Todd County Central's 247 team rushing yards on the night, and Johnson scored all three of the team's touchdowns on deep play-action passes along the right side.
Quarterback Bryce Nolan (who also had nine rushes for 50 yards) found him from 37 yards out with 2:11 left in the second quarter, from 22 yards out with 1:38 left in the third quarter … and from 27 yards out on 3rd-and-11 with 4:37 remaining for the go-ahead score.
"They picked on us all night with the deep ball," Champion added. "But their quarterback did a great job throwing to an open receiver, and that's a lot of credit to him."
The Lakers had the last chance, too, and it seemed like they'd kick a game-winning field goal after Franklin took a snap and scrambled more than 20 yards for a third-down conversion. A block-in-the-back and two incompletions later, and the Lakers punted the ball hoping for a defensive stop.
It didn't come. Nolan's third-down keeper sealed it for the Rebels.
"They beat us throwing the ball," Schwepker said after the loss. "Every time I wasn't out there (on defense), they scored."
Todd County Central 0 7 8 6 - 21
Calloway County 7 7 0 6 - 20
CC: John Foster to Montrell Rogers 16 pass (Ian Clark PAT good), 7-0, :46.9 1Q
TCC: Bryce Nolan to DJ Johnson 37 pass (PAT good), 7-7, 2:11 2Q
CC: Jacob Watters 7 rush (Ian Clark PAT good), 14-7, :51.3 2Q
TCC: Bryce Nolan to DJ Johnson 22 pass (2pt. rush good), 15-14, 1:38 3Q
CC: Zach Orange 3 rush (2 pt. pass no good), 20-15, 10:13 4Q
TCC: Bryce Nolan to DJ Johnson 27 pass (2 pt. rush no good), 21-20, 4:37 4Q
CC: Jacob Watters 15-84, Zach Orange 7-53-1, John Foster 5-36, Kanyon Franklin 5-25, Luke Schwepker 2-4; TCC: JaTwan Graham 22-117, Bryce Nolan 9-52, Jonathan Flores 7-30
CC: John Foster 7-15-52, Kanyon Franklin 7-12-80; TCC: Bryce Nolan 5-10-89-1
CC: Ki Franklin 3-41, Luke Schwepker 5-37, Montell Rogers 2-17-1, Connor Potts 1-19; TCC: DJ Johnson 3-88-3
Calloway Co. 0-1, Todd Co. Central 1-0.