November 7th, 2020

Cougars Close Regular Season with 55-36 Win

Jeff Woods 

Staff Writer 

Cougars Close Regular Season with 55-36 Win
photo by Jeff Woods

Holy Cross is primed and ready to go on another deep postseason run.

The Cougars took care of business in their regular-season finale Friday night, defeating Eminence 55-36 to improve to 6-1 on the year. Their performance was far from perfect, but unlike the rest of Class A, they have two weeks to get it right.


“We did a lot of good things. We did a lot of bad things,” said head coach Eric Dick. “We’re just banged up right now. This break will help us out and hopefully get us healthy again, so we’re firing on all cylinders.”


Holy Cross enters the playoffs as the top seed in Class A, District Two. With only three teams playing in the district this year, the Cougars earn an automatic bye to the second round and face the winner between Campbellsville and Bethlehem.


“Both of them are going to be hungry. The target is on our backs. We just have to do what we need to do to keep going,” said Dick.


Holy Cross and Eminence agreed to play earlier this week after the Cougars’ scheduled game against Marion County was canceled due to Covid-19 concerns. The Cougars only had three days to prepare for the Warriors.


“This worked out great because they do a lot of the same things we knew we would see with either Bethlehem or Campbellsville,” said Dick. “We had to have another game. I saw what happened when we had that break with Walton-Verona. We were flat, and we just did not come out well at all. It was imperative that I found a game just because I knew we were going to have that break and didn’t want to be in that same spot again.”


The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first three possessions. After receiving the opening kickoff, Holy Cross marched 70 yards on nine plays, with senior quarterback Chaz Geragthy capping the drive with a five-yard touchdown. The Cougars defense forced a quick three-and-out and took a 14-0 lead just minutes later when senior Lex Thomas rushed for a five-year score. Thomas added another touchdown to put the Cougars ahead 21-6 midway through the second quarter. They went to the locker room with a 28-6 lead.


The Cougars started to unravel some in the third quarter. Headed for his third touchdown of the night, Thomas fumbled just short of the goal line. Luckily, Tate Gaw recovered in the end zone to extend the Holy Cross lead to 35-6. On the next Eminence possession, junior Davontaye Saunders rushed for a 19-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 35-14. The Warriors recovered an onside kick, and two plays later, senior Jaylin Farris scored on a 50-yard touchdown run. In just 19 seconds of gameplay, the Warriors scored 15 points to put the Cougars back on their heels.


“I don’t know if it was a mental lapse, or we just got comfortable in where we’re at, but we definitely can’t play like that,” said Dick. “That’s a recipe for disaster for us. We have to string four quarters together to make this happen.”


The Cougars returned in the fourth quarter as Geraghty connected with Chris Perry for a nine-yard touchdown for a 42-21 lead. Later in the fourth, Geraghty rushed 20 yards for a touchdown to put the game well out of reach at 48-21. Geraghty accounted for four total touchdowns on the night, while fellow senior Tate Gaw scored two touchdowns and recorded two interceptions.


The setup for Holy Cross in the playoffs couldn’t be better. Along with a first-round bye, the Cougars are also ranked No. 1 overall in Class A RPI, which means they carry home-field advantage throughout the postseason. It’s a stark contrast to last year when Holy Cross had to travel more than 200 miles to play Pikeville in the state semifinals.


“The fact of knowing that we don’t have to leave here, that’s huge. That’s a monster thing,” said Dick. “Pikeville was a four-hour trip. We hold all the cards. It’s just up to us how we play those cards.”


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