"Undoubtedly it was a late hit. The official told me he was down when he got hit. Why they didn't call the penalty is beyond me," said Stonebraker. "Spencer felt something in his leg pop. I was frustrated that he was hurt and frustrated over the late hit."
That frustration soon spread to Casey coach Andy Stephens, who worked under Stonebraker at Casey until Stonebraker left to take the head coaching job at Garrard before the 2001 season, when he felt the Golden Lions tried a cut block on Casey lineman Andrew Allen. The block below the knees drew a 15-yard penalty.
When the game ended, Stephens and his team headed off the field. Stonebraker went to midfield, threw his arms into the air and shouted something. Stephens immediately headed to midfield to confront Stonebraker before the two were separated. Stephens was eventually escorted off the field by law enforcement officials.
"He didn't want to shake hands after they piled on and hurt Spencer. We tried a cut block. But we are the ones who took the bulk of the loss," Stonebraker said. "I expected something like this. You just take it as it goes."
"He was just mad because we tackled his quarterback and he got hurt," Stephens said. "Why was his starting quarterback in the game up three touchdowns with two minutes to play? We have not had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty all year. We don't teach dirty football. The official told us there was nothing wrong with the play."
Before the controversial finish, the two teams had stuck to playing solid football on the field.
Garrard's offense almost perfect in first half
Garrard's offense executed almost perfectly in the first half. The Golden Lions (6-1) scored on all four possessions and had touchdown drives of 35, 62, 76 and 57 yards. Garrard also converted twice on fourth down plays.
"We were on and they could not stop us," Stonebraker said.
Crutchfield ran for three touchdowns (29, 12 and 4 yards) and was 12-for-15 passing for 128 yards and one touchdown - a 6-yard toss to Jake Cool with just 41.3 seconds left in period two.
Casey (1-5) was able to keep pace for the first 13 minutes. The Rebels got a 33-yard touchdown run by starting quarterback Josh Swango to tie the game 7-7 and a 1-yard run by Blake McGinnis to again tie the game at 14 apiece early in period two.
The Rebels just missed scoring on the final play of the first half when McGinnis, who played quarterback for the first time this season, broke free for an 85-yard gain before Cool caught him at the 10-yard line on the final play of the half.
After the teams exchanged punts twice, Garrard got a 24-yard scoring pass from Crutchfield to Cool on a quick screen to take a 36-14 lead.
Casey's Rex Delk, who ran for 133 yards on 27 carries, tallied on a 4-yard run with 7:47 to play. Again, Crutchfield had an answer. He directed a flawless 64-yard, nine-play drive that ended with his 12-yard scoring run. He was also 4-for-5 passing for 45 yards on the drive.
Casey's last score came on a 1-yard run by Swango with just 20.7 seconds left.
The Rebels amassed 357 yards of total offense to Garrard's 371. Stephens said finally have Delk and McGinnis both close to 100 percent helped his offense and enabled him to take advantage of McGinnis' speed at quarterback for the first time this season.
"When they are both able to go, we are a lot better team," Stephens said. "We've been wanting to use McGinnis at quarterback for four weeks, but he just wasn't healthy enough. Our offense was good enough to win. It's just too bad we didn't tackle better, especially the first half."
"They have good athletes. That didn't surprise me," Stonebraker said. "I just wasn't sure when they would use him at quarterback."
Of course, he's not sure what he'll do with his offense because of Crutchfield's injury.
"We were in position to have a great season. We'll just have to make adjustments, but it's a shame he got hurt the way he did on a late hit," Stonebraker said. "I thought something crazy might happen in this game. As soon as we were put in the same district, I worried about this game for a lot of reasons, but I still never anticipated all the things happening at the end the way they did."
Larry Vaught can be reached at email@example.com.