Notre Dame commit Jacob Lacey and the South Warren defense had a stellar showing in its season opener on Friday.
Following a Hopkinsville false start on the opening snap, the ensuing play caused a gasp followed by a loud cheer among the South Warren sideline.
The South Warren defense allowed a deep post pattern slip through the seams, leading to a deep pass completion. Redeeming himself quickly, South Warren safety Clayton Bush made an outstanding heads-up play – closing on the ball quickly and stripping the ball deep within South Warren territory.
Bush retrieved the stray football and returned it seventy yards for a touchdown.
After the ensuing kickoff, again, Hopkinsville extended the field – connecting on a deep vertical route.
Moments later, on first-and-goal, Lacey made his presence felt by stuffing an inside run.
Lacey would stuff the run again on that drive before Hopkinsville settled for a field goal.
The Top 150 Notre Dame commit showed an increase in quickness and power at his new stature of 6-foot-2, 285-pounds, shedding around 15 pounds since the completion of his junior season.
Through the first half, unless Lacey was facing double or triple-team blocks, he was penetrating the backfield. That effort helped South Warren notch multiple defensive touchdowns through the first half of the contest.
Late in the second quarter was when Lacey turned it up.
With Hopkinsville attempting to narrow the 28 -10 margin, Lacey notched a sack in mid-field. Two plays later, Lacey lined up over the center in a 3-4 front before shifting over the left guard. On the snap, Lacey engaged the o-lineman, then executed an outstanding inside spin move en route to the quarterback, who then had to rush his throw – resulting in an interception.
Within minutes of the turnover, the score was 35 – 10 for the South Warren Spartans.
On the ensuing Hopkinsville possession, again, after bulling over the blocker, Lacey pressured the quarterback, causing another rushed throw which was intercepted which Bush returned 60 yards for a touchdown.
At the half, Lacey had notched five tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and six pressures while South Warren held a 42 – 10 lead.
On Lacey’s first series of the second half, Hopkinsville opted to double-team and chop block Lacey as they pushed the ball downfield. Lacey managed to work himself free early on that drive, stuffing the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage.
That would be Lacey’s final series as South Warren went to its reserves along the defensive line with a large lead.
Bush – a 2019 Western Kentucky commitment – finished with two interceptions, a forced fumble, two defensive touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown.
From the sideline, Lacey watched his sophomore defensive teammate Garrett Dinkins score South Warren’s fourth defensive touchdown as the Spartans completed their season opener with a 49 – 17 win over Hopkinsville.
Surely, South Warren is in for a successful 2018 season if they can maintain the level of pressure produced by Lacey, Bush and Co. on Friday Night.