Jaylen Wolfe and Dakota Henderson make a tackle against Nelson County. Photo by Donna Deplazes.

The Craig County football team was on the verge of victory in Lovingston last Friday but couldn’t get it done. Craig dropped a 21-12 match to the host Nelson County Governors in a very competitive game.

Dalton McPherson returns a kickoff for the Rockets. Photo by Donna Deplazes

“We should have won that game,” said Craig coach Mark Harrison. “Little mistakes killed us.”

The Rockets were playing without a couple regulars, including center Chase Huffman. That was a key point of the game as the Rockets run from shotgun formation most of the time and that isn’t an easy snap to make.

“We had eight bad snaps, and that makes it tough,” said Harrison. “The shotgun is our bread and butter and we tried to open it up a little bit.”

The most critical came late in the game with the Rockets driving for what could have been the winning score. With three minutes left a bad snap sailed over quarterback Dakota Henderson’s head, bouncing 25 yards into the backfield. That killed the drive, and Nelson tacked on an insurance touchdown for the final score.

“We were driving for the winning score and looking good,” said Harrison. “It’s just one of those things. Our whole line is inexperienced, but the kids played hard and we’re getting better.”

Craig trailed 7-0 at the half and the defense was playing exceptionally well. In the third quarter Dakota Henderson scored on a three yard run and Dalton McPherson returned an interception for a 60 yard “pick six,” and Craig trailed just 14-12 after three quarters. However, the Rockets couldn’t seal the deal and dropped to 0-3.

“Our defense played great,” said Harrison. “They had a good runningback and a good quarterback. They scored on three big plays but we battled them. It was one of those games we should have won.”

Henderson led Craig with 137 yards rushing on 28 attempts. McPherson had 63 yards on five rushes and Ben Deplazes had 29 yards on six tries as the Rockets piled up 229 yards on the ground for their best effort of the young season.

Ben Deplazes(#5) and Kyle Sloss combine to tackle a Governor. Photo by Donna Deplazes

On defense Jacob Bradford led the team with 16 tackles. Henderson had 13, Kyle Sloss had 10 tackles, Deplazes had six and Camron Fisher had four. McPherson had two interceptions and Deplazes had two sacks.

The Rockets will try again this Friday with a trip to Montcalm, West Virginia. Montcalm is 2-1, but the loss was a 48-8 loss to Narrows last week.

“They have about the same amount of players as we do,” said Harrison. “Last week at Nelson we had 20 and they had about 40 on their sideline, and that makes it tough.”

However, Harrison was pleased with the improvement he saw in the team.

“I was torn up after the game, but after watching the film I was pleased with how much we improved,” he said. “We still have to find a way to protect Dakota but the kids are playing hard, and they’re tough. When you play tough, good things will happen.”

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