PDT Sports Writer
As mainly a blocking back, Kentucky Warriors’ fullback Luke Brown doesn’t get much time in the spotlight. But in Saturday’s game against the Northwest Dukes, it was his time to shine.
Stepping in at halfback for an injured Jontez Jones, Brown rushed for 158 and three touchdowns in the Warriors’ 40-23 victory in Cincinnati.
“Luke is a phenomenal player. A lot of people don’t see that,” said Warrior head coach Jamie Rice.”You get that guy out in space and there aren’t too many guys that want to tackle him.”
The Warriors (6-1) were able to win the game up front, and steamrolled the Dukes (1-6) for 235 rushing yards on the day.
“Our offensive line did phenomenal,” “It’s the best game they’ve had since the Cincinnati Xtreme game. There might have been two or three missed assignments in that game, and this was pretty close to that.”
The Dukes were able to take an early 3-0 lead with a 27-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the game, but they wouldn’t hold the lead for long. Jones would break off a 23-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter, and would add a 12-yard touchdown a drive later. With the offensive moving the ball and the defense keeping the Dukes in check, Rice decided to end Jones’ day early to protect a set of stitches in his arm.
That’s when Brown went to work. With veteran linebacker Shawn Ziegler clearing holes as his lead blocker, Brown would average nearly 10 yards a carry throughout the game.
“I knew it was only a matter of time,” Rice said of Brown’s performance.
Though they’ve been prone to throughout the season, the Warriors were able to take care of the ball against the Dukes, committing just a single turnover.
“It helps we didn’t turn the ball over,” Rice said. “We executed. We took pretty good care of the ball. That’s a good thing.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Kentucky was relentless. After the early field goal, the Warriors would not allow the Dukes to score again until the first-string defense had been substituted out in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Roy Rundquist, playing defensive end for an injured Steve Lee, was named Defensive Player of the Game after recording five tackles and picking off a pass.
“He did a really good job,” Rice said. “We were missing some people, but he came down to defensive end and he did exactly what he was supposed to do.”
Kentucky’s secondary, which has been banged up in recent weeks, responded with a strong game. Chance Freeman lead the Warriors with seven tackles and sack, and cornerback Mason Jordan an interception, his fourth in two games.
Perhaps the most important part of the Warriors’ win was that they were able to stay healthy. Warrior defensive captains Steve Lee and Nathan Fannin missed the game with hamstring pulls, but Rice says both of them, along with Jones, should be ready to go for Kentucky’s next game against the Southern Ohio Spartans.
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to have everyone at 100 percent,” Rice said. “If they’re not at 100 percent, they’re going to be close. We got out of there with a clean game.”
Alex Hider can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter
Warriors 7 12 6 15 — 40
Dukes 3 0 0 20 — 23
(NW) 11:23 1ST 27 yard Field Goal — 11 Play, 53 yardS
(KY) 2:41 1ST 23 yard Run by Jontez Jones (Dheel’s kick is good) 2 play,60 yards
(KY) 8:41 2ND 12 yard Run by Jontez Jones (Kick blocked) 9 play, 50 yards
(KY) :52 2ND 3 yard Run by Luke Brown (Kick blocked) 7 play, 19 yards
(KY) 6:14 3RD 38 yard Run by Luke Brown (Kick failed) 5 play, 50 yards
(NW) 14:40 4TH 6 yard Pass from #5 to #8 (Kick failed)4 play, 65 yards
(KY) 9:41 4TH 1 yard Run by Luke Brown (2 point conversion is good) 11 play, 68 yards
(NW) 9:15 4TH 45 yard Pass from #5 to #88 (Kick good) 1 PLAY, 45 yards
(KY) 6:10 4TH 33 yard Pass from Mallory to Weber (Dheel’s kick is good) 4 play, 33 yards
(NW) 1:20 4TH 41 yard Pass from #5 to #18 (Kick good) 6 play, 66 yards