Lawrenceburg’s Gavin Yoon (3) takes away what became a 72-yard TD pass from a Taylor defender Friday.
Brenden Cox (5) pulls away from a jersey grab to score Lawrenceburg's first TD in Friday's 35-14 win over Taylor (Ohio). (Chuck Folop)
Gavin Yoon gets his jersey stretched by a Taylor defender as he crosses the goal line with his second TD catch of the night in Friday's 35-14 win. (Chuck Folop)
Tigers' Adam Burd (10) straight-arms a Taylor defender on his 9-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to cap Friday's 35-14 victory.
YOONS UNLEASH TIGER AIR ATTACK
Freshman Garrrett Yoon (2) completed 14 of 22 passes for 224 yards and 2 TDs in Friday’s 35-14 win vs. Taylor
LAWRENCEBURG - Four years from now, after Garrett Yoon has broken all the passing records in Lawrenceburg football history, Friday’s 35-14 win over Taylor (Ohio) may be viewed as his four-star debut.
Tigers’ Yoon brothers - freshman QB Garrett and junior wide receiver Gavin - combined on touchdown passes of 72 and 9 yards and for 163 of the 237-yard LHS passing total, not to mention plenty of highlight video, in the home opener at Dick Meador Stadium.
"When it is all said and done, Garrett will rewrite a lot of the records in our record books," head coach Ryan Knigga said. "We have had good quarterbacks here since we took over in 2011. All of our quarterbacks have been different in their own ways in their approach, skill level, understanding of the game, leadership, and how they helped our team win.
"It may sound crazy, but it is like Garrett has a piece of all those quarterbacks before him wrapped up inside of him. It will be exciting to see how he improves this year and the next three. He has speed, a good arm, and is very tough. He is fearless and a competitor. He is becoming one of the leaders of our team daily and that is very unique for a ninth grader.
"I will tell you this though. He e is not doing it on his own. He has some great players around him, and they are making plays for him. I know Garrett spreads the love, and that is part of it, he understands those guys around him, make the train go."
Lawrenceburg set the tone for the night with a clock-consuming 18-play, 85-yard scoring drive for openers Friday, mixing runs by senior Brenden Cox and junior Mason Kennedy (11/53) with short passes to junior Seth Lampert (3 catches/16 yards) and senior Brody Denison (2/22).
Cox (15 carries/51 yards) took the option dive and cut back against the grain from four yards out to give the Tigers the 6-0 lead with 3:55 left in the opening period. Payton Seig’s extra point kick was blocked by Taylor’s Steven Bledsoe.
Gavin Yoon, who starred on both sides of the football Friday, halted the Yellow Jackets’ first possession in three plays, with the first of his two pickoffs of QB Tyler Embry (8-19 passing/54 yards/3 Int.) at the Tiger 42-yard line.
But Taylor stunned LHS three plays later, with Taylor D-lineman Casey Lamkin tipping an apparent screen pass over the middle, nabbing the football and rumbling in from 35 yards. Branden Dreyer’s extra point kick was good to give the Jackets a 7-6 edge with 2:25 left in the first stanza.
Forced to punt on their next series, Tigers were fortunate when Denison’s boot burned the Taylor return man, who never got a handle before LHS sophomore Dakota Roth pounced on the ball at the Jackets’ 21 for a new set of downs.
Garrett Yoon, who never rattled, rushed three times, with help from a Taylor offsides penalty, to cap the four-play jaunt with a 4-yard TD dive. Kennedy took the direct snap fullback trap up the middle for the two-pointer to regain Lawrenceburg’s lead, 14-7.
Taylor’s dangerous scrambler Embry (13 carries/46 yards) ran for a 13-yard first down before the Yellow Jackets were forced to punt on fourth-and-15, with LHS taking over at its 28.
The highlight play of the night followed immediately, with Garrett Yoon completing a jump ball pass to brother Gavin, against single coverage, deep down the right side. Replays, sure to be seen repeatedly, will show Gavin snatching the football out of the Taylor defender’s hands at the last split-second, then running unmolested 72 yards to the end zone as his rival fell. Payton Seig’s kick made if 21-14 with 5:41 left to halftime.
Gavin Yoon stymied the visitors’ next series, as well, intercepting the ball at the Tiger 19.
Lawrenceburg cashed in the opportunity with an 87-yard, 11-play scoring thrust, with Garrett completing the 10-yard TD comebacker to Gavin at the left pylon with 12.3 seconds left for the 28-7 halftime lead.
A sluggish third quarter by both teams produced only Taylor’s opening kickoff 73-yard TD return by Jacob Hughes, to narrow the gap to 28-14. None of the Jackets’ points came from the offense Friday.
On a deceptively cool, but humid night in Lawrenceburg’s home “Pit,” Yellow Jackets clearly proved worse for the wear in the fourth quarter, with several players cramping on the field. So affected was Embry, playing full-time both ways, that he vomited during one time out to add to the dehydration.
Tigers -who had missed a what would have been a third TD pass when a wide-open post pattern throw sailed between Roth’s hands in the first quarter - finally sealed the deal after linebacker Jack Fette’s interception of a tipped ball at the Tiger 23 with 8:48 remaining.
Lawrenceburg finished as it started, with a long 12-play, 77-yard drive that sophomore Adam Burd culminated with a 9-yard TD run, diving to the corner pylon through Taylor traffic at the goal line with 2:41 left.
Tigers finished with a 418-131 yard bulge in total offense (181-77 rushing, 237-54 passing) and 21 first downs to Taylor’s 12.
"We feel we can have a balanced attack this year," Knigga added. "That is a good thing, because we are not one-dimensional. We felt going in we could score points. In any game plan our main focus is how can we run the football.
"We have playmakers all over the field. To be honest, it is hard to get the ball to all of them. However, if you look at our rush carries, we are spread out. The good news was that most of our stuff was working Friday."
Junior linebacker Andrew Rennekamp, who had one of four LHS QB sacks, led a swarming defense with five solo tackles and two assists. Tigers’ aggressive pass coverage blanketed Taylor receivers all night Friday.
" Our defense was lights out," Knigga said. "The offense kept the defense off the field. We are breaking in a new few wrinkles underneath new DC Justin Jackson. It also helps that we got about nine kids playing one way on defense. Our defensive backs got better the past few days, as well. Our progress last week was good. Now we must build on that."
Lawrenceburg (1-1) stays home this week to host Class 2A rival Milan (0-2), which took a 51-13 loss from top EIAC 3A contender Batesville at home Friday.