Versatile Lions top Mercer

September 28, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

LANCASTER - If you're going to get into a shootout with Garrard County, you'd better have plenty of ammo.

Garrard does, as evidenced by the numbers it has been putting up lately. And on Friday night, its old rival simply couldn't keep up.

The Golden Lions rolled up an eye-popping 558 yards - including 460 yards generated by quarterback Spencer Crutchfield - as they ran circles around Mercer County for a 52-27 victory.

Their multi-faceted offense is averaging 34.4 points per game since being held to six in their season opener.

"There aren't very many teams in this area that can stop our offense if we work together and have good consistency," Crutchfield said.


Mercer couldn't, so Garrard broke an eight-game losing streak to its former district rival, beating the Scotties for the first time since 1985.

"You can't even explain it, it feels so good," Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield rushes for 258 yards, throws for 202

No one had a bigger hand in making this a good night for host Garrard (5-1) than Crutchfield, who ran for a career-high 258 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 202 yards and three more scores.

"Crutchfield's the best player we've faced," Hammons said. "He can throw, run, and he could probably catch. I don't know why they don't let him just throw it up in the air and catch it."

It was one of those nights when everything was going Crutchfield's way. His scrambles and sneaks turned into double-digit gains. Receivers turned short passes into long touchdowns.

"The line gave me good blocks, the receivers ran great routes. I really didn't have to do anything but run," he said.

Crutchfield averaged 11.2 yards per carry and had six gains of 14 yards or more as he shattered the personal rushing record he set a week earlier with 170 yards in a win at Madison Southern.

"He really did a nice job of seeing the field and knowing what's going on with his protection and what lanes he can run through," Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker said.

Crutchfield also completed 12 of 31 passes, the most effective of which were short throws that running backs and receivers turned into long gains.

Two of his touchdown passes, a 33-yarder to Tim Quisenberry in the first quarter and a 45-yarder to Jake Cool in the third quarter, came on such plays.

"We did a nice job of throwing the ball to our fullbacks. That's something they gave us early in the game," Stonebraker said.

Eight different receivers caught Crutchfield's passes, illustrating the array of ways Garrard can generate yardage.

And with so many options at his disposal, it's no wonder Stonebraker doesn't mind finding himself in a shootout.

"With our offense and the versatility we have, that's the type of game that I think is going to cater to what we can do offensively," Stonebraker said.

It was clear that this would be that type of game when the two teams combined for 24 points in the first quarter.

Chadwick hits 46-yard field goal

Mercer (3-3) grabbed a 3-0 lead on the first of two field goals by Jason Chadwick, who threatened the school record with a 46-yard kick in the third quarter.

But Crutchfield's touchdown passes to Brandon Sebastian and Quisenberry got Garrard going, and the Lions outscored the Scotties 23-7 over the remainder of the first half.

The Lions led 29-13 after three quarters, and Crutchfield scrambled for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. They then answered a quick Mercer touchdown with 16 unanswered points.

Garrard even got four points from its defense, scoring twice on safeties after pinning Mercer deep in its own territory.

Mercer's offense wasn't exactly mired in the mud. Andrew McCloud rushed for 99 yards, 50 of them on a fourth-quarter touchdown run.

And quarterback Michael Bottoms got off to a good start, completing four of six passes in the first quarter before finishing 7-for-19 for 52 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought Michael looked a lot better," Hammons said. "I think our passing game looked better, but we've got to focus on catching passes."

But the Scotties couldn't generate enough offense to negate the big plays they gave up on defense.

"We held them several times, but we couldn't stop the big play," Hammons said.

But even after Garrard's offense gave the scoreboard operator a workout, the Lions said they need to do more in their upcoming district games.

"There's a couple of drives we didn't get anything on," Crutchfield said. "We were a lot more consistent this week, but we've still got to be more consistent offensively."

Mike Marsee can be reached at

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