Corbin holds off Garrard

October 31, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LANCASTER - When the game began Friday, Garrard County assistant coach Chris Cooper said the Golden Lions were as ready as any team he has ever been around as they prepared to play for the Class AA district title against Corbin.

But when the game was finally over, the Redhounds had taken advantage of Garrard's missed opportunities and held off the Lions 21-14 before an excellent crowd at Dyehouse Stadium here.

Garrard (8-2, 3-1) had numerous chances to score but turnovers - they committed eight in all - spelled doom for the Lions, who had 415 total yards to 276 for Corbin.

"We had our chances," said Cooper. "But every time we looked ready to score, we committed a turnover. You can't beat any team, especially one as good as Corbin, when you miss that many (scoring) chances and expect to win the game. They took advantage of our mistakes in the first half and we just couldn't catch up."


Each time Garrard made a mistake in the second quarter, Corbin had an answer.

The Redhounds (7-3, 4-0) recovered a Garrard fumble late in the first quarter and went 53 yards in seven plays to score. Always known as a running team, Corbin gained most of the yards in the drive through the air. A 23-yard catch by Eric Blackwood plus 10-yard receptions by Andrew Davis and Travis Prewitt placed the ball at the three, and Brad Lawson scored on the next play to give the Redhounds a 7-0 lead.

It took them less than 10 seconds to score again.

With Garrard backed up on its own 10 following a holding penalty on the kickoff, Zach Doan was hit and fumbled as he took the hand-off and Isaac Mills recovered the ball in the end zone for a stunning 14-0 lead with 9:50 to play in the half.

Garrard reached the Corbin 24 on its next series, but a pair of penalties and a sack gave the ball back to the Redhounds on downs at the Lions' 40. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Clint Cashen found Blackwood open down the sideline for a 58-yard scoring strike and a 21-0 lead.

Turnovers were the difference

There was only a one yard difference in total offense in the first half, but the difference in the game at that point was the turnover ratio.

"We gave them every score they had in the first half," Cooper said. "Take away the turnovers and it was an even game at the half."

Corbin coach Steve Jewell agreed.

"We were inconsistent offensively during the game, but Garrard's defense had a lot to do with that," Jewell said. "We were able to take advantage of a couple breaks in the half to get the lead, but never really moved the ball on them all night."

Garrard didn't have that problem. The Lions moved the ball at will against the Redhounds' defense, only to stop themselves when they got close to scoring.

They finally got on the scoreboard to start the second half. Taking over at their own 40, senior quarterback Spencer Crutchfield found Daniel Barker for 21 yards and David Hall for seven more.

Two plays later Crutchfield, who threw for 356 yards, lofted a perfect pass over the head of a Corbin defender into the arms of Dan Leavell, who had seven catches for 192 yards, for a 28-yard touchdown. Cory Horn tacked on the conversion to trim the lead to 21-7.

Garrard trimmed the lead to 21-14 later in the period. Leavell had a 13-yard catch and Crutchfield ran for 13 more to the Corbin 31. Crutchfield found Chris Penix open for a 31-yard scoring strike on the next play.

Three more turnovers in fourth quarter

The Lions turned the ball over three times in the final stanza - twice on interceptions and once on a fumble - but nearly forced overtime in the final minute. After Corbin punted the ball into the end zone with 1:11 left to play, Crutchfield found Leavell open again for 64 yards to the Redhounds' 16-yard line. The speedy senior needed one block to score, but a Corbin defender ran by a would-be blocker at the 20 to run him down.

Three plays later, Sean Gosser's interception in the end zone sealed the win for Corbin.

"You gotta give Garrard a lot of credit," Jewell said. "They played extremely well defensively in the second half. We had a hard time moving the ball all night."

"We didn't quit and played hard," Cooper said. "We just needed to put more points on the board."

Garrard will host Western (7-3, 4-2) this week in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs.

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