Even with a shaky start and far too many penalties and turnovers, Fort Campbell still exercised its will against Hart County in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Christian Berry scored four of his five touchdowns on the ground, and Triston Luke broke the program's single-season touchdown rushing record as the Falcons rolled over Hart County 57-8 on Friday at Fryar Stadium.
"Christian stepped up tonight," Falcons coach Shawn Berner said. "We had to do some things tonight as far as personnel and I thought he did a really good job stepping up for us."
Berry ran for 115 yards on only seven carries and Luke scored his 30th rushing touchdown this season, finishing with 122 yards on seven carries. Luke, who also had a touchdown catch, broke the record for rushing touchdowns in a season with a 58-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The record was previously owned by Antonio Andrews, a Mr. Kentucky Football, who was a star quarterback during the Falcons' 2A state championship runs.
"He (Luke) is just a sophomore and I've said all season he's a special back and it couldn't happen for a better kid," Berner said. "He's been a tremendous leader and a great athlete all season. I know he appreciates everyone around him; his offensive line has done a good job all season getting there."
Luke is 62 yards away from becoming the first back in the program's history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
Fort Campbell has scored 57 or more points in four straight games. The Falcons (9-2) will stay at Fryar Stadium for their second round playoff game next Friday when they play South Warren, which was a 16-7 winner over Trigg County on Friday.
Fort Campbell didn't exactly have the ideal start it was seeking when it fumbled the game's opening kickoff. Hart County used 10 plays to cover 35 yards and took a 8-0 lead with 5:32 left in the first quarter on Chris Bradley's 13-yard touchdown run and Josh Shoulders' two-point conversion.
"We were really sloppy," Berner said. "We had a lot of penalties and I sat a bunch of guys trying to heal them up, and some of the other guys had an opportunity to step up and play, but we as a team didn't play well I think. We've got to get that fixed if we are going to keep going."
Fort Campbell answered almost immediately when Berry returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards down to the Hart 15-yard line, and Luke caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Jonathan Jethroe.
Jethroe, who took over the quarterback position after Jaylen Williams was injured in the win over Paducah Tilghman on Sept. 28, threw two touchdowns and completed nine of 11 passes for 96 yards. Jethroe has yet to throw an interception.
"We wanted to get Jethroe comfortable and make some easy throws tonight," Berner said.
"I thought he did a decent job with it."
The Falcons took a 15-8 lead when Berry scored on a 21-yard run with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
The Falcons went into the half leading 29-8 when Berry scored on a 7-yard run and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jethroe.
"We can pass the ball and we can run the ball and obviously we can't really do that without our offensive line," Berry said.
"We push each other so hard throughout the week so we can do this on Friday night."
Fort Campbell was in complete control in the second half.
Berry scored on runs of 8 and 71 yards in the third quarter and Luke's 58-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the fourth quarter pushed the Falcons ahead 50-8.
Backup quarterback Zach Lee added the final touchdown, scoring on a fourth-and-1 from the 22-yard line.