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With the WC Commanders’ game against the Shawnee Golden Eagles hanging in the balance last Friday night, senior Tylyn Byas responded by simply doing what he had done all night: he ran.
Byas, who would go on to accumulate a school-record 361 yards on 41 carries, had been torching the Shawnee defense all night, but WC had a long drive ahead of them, no timeouts and only 1:56 left on the clock.
Everyone, including the Golden Eagles defense, knew that the Commanders would have to pass their way to a win.
And that’s exactly what Head Coach Eric Sagrecy planned on.
“I knew we would have plenty of time if we got enough first downs and ran our hurry-up offense,” Sagrecy said. “I knew that they thought we’d throw the ball, so when they backed up a little bit, they gave us a little room, we knew our best chance was to run at them. We just took what they gave us … Our team had a sense of urgency and hit on a lot of big plays. They just executed.”
And when Byas was called on, he did not disappoint.
With just over 36 seconds left on the clock, he crossed the goal line to seal the Commanders’ 42-39 win.
Byas, who had broken the previous school record for rushing yards (288) by a large margin by game’s end, also tied the WC record for rushing touchdowns on the play, going in for his fifth of the night.
Sagrecy was “very pleased” with the senior and his teammates’ performance on the ground.
“I thought Tylyn made a lot of great plays out there,” Sagrecy said, “but his offensive line, receivers and backs all blocked incredibly well the whole way. I think he’d tell you the same thing. Tylyn’s name is on the record, but it was definitely a group effort.”
The Commanders’ rush defense also contributed to the victory, holding the Shawnee ground attack to only 26 yards on 21 plays.
However, the Golden Eagles were able to make it a game through the air. While inefficient (10-for-28 passing for 35.7 percent) overall, Shawnee completed several big pass plays, throwing for 346 yards and four touchdowns on the night.
Despite jumping out to a 25-7 lead in the first half, the Golden Eagles’ performance wasn’t enough to outshine Byas (who also threw for 65 yards and a score) and the WC offense.
“I’m really proud of them,” Sagrecy said. “I’ve been here for eight years, and we’ve never come back from that many points before. It says a lot about this team’s character. A lot of teams would have folded it up, but we showed a lot of fight, a lot of heart.”
The win helped WC improve to 3-4 on the year, but more importantly, it put them in prime position to make the playoffs, sporting a 2-2 district mark.
The Commanders have three more regular-season games (including two district opponents), the first of which will be this Friday night at Bardstown (5-2, 2-2), starting at 7:30.