But Casey was whistled for jumping offsides, giving Garrard an extra five yards and a second chance. This time, the Lions came through as Crutchfield found Dan Leavell in the end zone with 4:19 to play, and Horn's extra point tied the game.
"That was huge. That changed the entire momentum of the football game," Casey coach Andy Stephens said. "At that point, even if they hit the field goal, it's still a mental win that we were able to give them a first down at the 15 and still hold them to a field goal. That was really a turning point in the football game."
"Coach (Steve Stonebraker) told us, and we knew ourselves, that we didn't come out to play in the first half," Leavell said. "I don't know what was wrong with us. Offensively, we had looks that were there and we just weren't doing them."
Garrard went on to score twice more in the first half on scoring "drives" of 20 and 13 seconds to open a 28-14 lead. Quarterback Spencer Crutchfield had a 6-yard touchdown run and then threw 15 yards to Daniel Barker for a 28-14 halftime lead.
"We were just taking what they gave us," said Crutchfield, who completed 13 of 18 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 75 yards. "We happened to make big plays time after time and that's why we got in so fast. We were just throwing what we had open, and they turned into big plays."
Casey was having no such luck. After scoring on two of their first three drives, the Rebels stalled on offense. They failed to get another first down in the first half after their second touchdown.
"It seemed like we couldn't get our defense off the field there," Stephens said. "That's a crucial time in the ballgame, and we just laid down after that."
Garrard added two more scores in the third quarter, a 1-yard run by Zach Doan and a 20-yard pass from Crutchfield to J.T. Prewitt. Crutchfield then left the game and was replaced by Jared Prewitt.
Different than last year's game
That was a departure from last year's game when Crutchfield was injured while playing in the final minutes of a game Garrard was winning handily. Tempers escalated and a midfield confrontation between Stephens and Stonebraker ensued. Things were perfectly calm after Friday's game, as the coaches and teams shook hands at midfield with no altercations.
Garrard had no problem executing its offense once it got rolling. None of the Lions' six scoring drives took longer than 3:11, and four of them took less than a minute. Twice, Garrard took advantage of Casey turnovers to start inside the Rebels' 15-yard line.
"We knew, getting that good field position, that we had to capitalize," Stonebraker said. "Having some conservative calls in mind in case we had worse field position, I was able to kind of turn up the heat with what we were doing offensively."
Casey struggled with its offense, finishing with minus-13 yards in the third quarter. Ricky Marrapodi led the way with 64 yards on 21 carries. Kyle Long completed 7 of 13 passes for 103 yards and two interceptions.
Doan had 77 yards rushing for Garrard on seven carries to lead the Lions' rushing attack. Daniel Barker and J.T. Prewitt each caught three passes for Garrard.
The Lions won their fifth consecutive game, but Stonebraker said he's far from satisfied.
"We've got a lot of getting better to do," Stonebraker said. "We're still making too many turnovers and way too many missed tackles and not getting off blocks well enough. Those are the big three areas we've got to continue to improve upon."