CU sputters in 27-0 Senior Day shutout

Andy Reed • The Lebanon Democrat

Cumberland senior defensive end Justin Brown (51), a former Lebanon High standout, pursues Pikeville quarterback Xavier Malone on a first-quarter rollout.

A beautiful afternoon for Senior Day turned into an afternoon of frustration for Cumberland in a 27-0 loss to visiting Pikeville in the Phoenix's home finale at Nokes-Lasater Field on Saturday.

Cumberland collected a grand total of 154 yards of total offense while Pikeville picked up 340. The Bears had 20 first downs to the Phoenix's seven as both teams exited the game 4-4 for the season. The visitors moved past the home team in the Bluegrass Division standings at 3-2 to 2-3.

Arties Clark led Pikeville with three touchdown catches covering 5, 26 and 23 yards, the latter two from Bowen Smith late in the second and third quarters. The first came from Xavier Malone midway through the first period. In between, Derius Gibson got 12 of his 102 rushing yards on a third-quarter touchdown.

Meanwhile, Cumberland never entered the red zone until the fourth quarter when the Phoenix were twice stopped on downs. The Phoenix had another chance in the final two minutes after Tyler Tate recovered a Pikeville fumble at the Bears' 23-yard line. But backup quarterback Jacob Croasman was sacked twice.

Each team lost three fumbles, but Pikeville picked off a pair of Phoenix passes. But it wasn't just turnovers.

"Crazy disappointed in the offense," Cumberland coach Tim Mathis said. "It really was just execution. We're short-hopping passes, we're fumbling snaps, bad exchanges. Everytime you think something positive's going, we had something negative happen. We couldn't stop the bleeding.

"Defensively, you can say they scored 27 points, but some of that was late. The defense kept us in the ballgame."

Two of Pikeville's scoring drives covered almost 90 yards. Two others were less than 50. In addition to Tate's recovery, Jon Carrothers and Kevin McKenzie also recovered Bear turnovers. Carrothers forced two of the fumbles.

"We had some great turnovers and opportunities," Mathis said. "We'd just give the ball right back to them.

"You're not going to blame it on anybody. It's coaching. We got to do a better job ... They didn't do anything earth-shattering that stopped us, we just acted like we didn't show up ... We just kind of woke up and decided we didn't want to play on the offense today."

Cumberland has two road games left to finish the season, starting with this Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff at Campbellsville and concluding Nov. 16 at Georgetown.

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