The Fort Campbell Falcons’ first trip to the Kentucky high school football playoffs in three years was a short one. The Falcons, who had lost earlier in the season at home to the Mayfield Cardinals 42-0, traveled down to War Memorial Stadium and fell to the Cardinals for a second time this season 56-13 on the coldest Friday night since last winter. The Cardinals used 42 unanswered points to springboard to the win.
The night started about as badly as it could for the Falcons. Diaz Perry picked up the opening kickoff at the 15 yard line and returned it the distance to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game.
The Falcons moved the ball into Mayfield territory, but then were stopped on a 4th and one on their opening possession. The Cardinals then took the ball right down the field and found the end zone again when Jayden Stinson connected with Kade Neely for a 34 yard score to make it 14-0 with still 7:16 to go in the first quarter.
Mayfield appeared ready to extend their lead with about two minutes to go in the quarter, however, Kade Neely on a wildcat keeper fumbled inside the one yard line with the Falcons coming up with the recovery. Two plays later, Conner Brinkmeyer, in the play of the season for Fort Campbell, ripped off a 98 yard touchdown run down the right sideline to cut the lead to 14-7 with 46.8 seconds to go in the quarter.
The Cardinals did not take long to respond. After a short kickoff, Jayden Stinson tossed a screen pass to Diaz Perry, who then took it 52 yards for the score to make it 21-7 with 33.5 seconds to go in the quarter.
After a Falcon fumble at their own 26 yard line, Mayfield got right back at it, as Jayden Stinson found Tate Puckett from 7 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to push the lead out to 28-7.
The Falcons looked to be rolling again on their next possession, moving deep into Mayfield territory. However, Matt Middleton’s pass on to Jordan Edwards on 4th down was incomplete, turning the ball back over to the Cardinals at their own 26 yard line with under 8 minutes to go in the half. After the stop, Mayfield drove the ball all the way down the field, capping off the drive with a two yard from from Kylan Galbreath to make it 35-7 with 5:07 in the half.
The Falcons again got deep in Mayfield territory late in the half, but Matt Middleton was picked off at the goal line with 42 seconds to go in the half to end the threat. The Cardinals then decided not to go quietly to the break and found the end zone again, this time it was Stinson to Neely for 44 yards on a slot screen to make it 42-7 with five seconds left in the half.
The 42 points was the same number that Mayfield put up in the opening half the first time the two teams met during the season.
After the Falcons went three and out on the opening possession of the second half, Mayfield struck quickly to get to the running clock. Kylan Galbreath ran it in from seven yards out to make it 49-7 with 10:30 to go in the 3rd quarter. From that point on, Mayfield reserves would finish out the game for the Cardinals. They would add a score with 9:31 to go to make it 56-7.
The Falcons would add a late score when Matt Middleton connected with Jordan Edwards from one yard out to cut the lead to 56-14.
The loss finishes the Fort Campbell season at 1-10. The game marked the first playoff appearance for the Falcons since the 2016 season, when they lost a first round game at Elizabethtown.
Mayfield improves to 10-1 on the season and will host Murray in a second round game next Friday night.