Williams' TD catch gives Garrard 31-28 win

November 07, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LANCASTER - Bruce Williams already knew what it was like to throw the winning touchdown pass. Now he knows what it's like to catch one, too.

A year after he threw for a last-minute touchdown to give Garrard County a first-round playoff win, Williams caught a pass with 60 seconds left to give the Golden Lions a 31-28 win over Western in the first round of the Class AA playoffs Friday night.

Spencer Crutchfield's 26-yard throw to Williams helped Garrard escape with an opening-round win over a Louisville school for the second straight year.

It was 362 days earlier that Williams, who became Garrard's quarterback last year after Crutchfield was injured, threw a 17-yard pass to Jake Cool at the other end of Dyehouse Stadium to give Garrard a 19-15 playoff win over DeSales.


"I've been on both ends of it now," said Williams. "Last year, I guess you could say, just broke me in. This was a bigger win this year, the way we fought back."

Trailing 21-7 after first quarter

Garrard (9-2) trailed 21-7 after the first quarter, then rallied in the second half to earn a return visit to Elizabethtown for a second-round game this week. Elizabethtown, which defeated Russell County 55-7 Friday, eliminated Garrard in the second round last year.

"This win means nothing if we can't capitalize on it," Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker said.

Garrard got the chance after scoring 17 unanswered points in the second half, then an-swering Western's only second-half score with the Crutchfield-to-Williams touchdown.

"With our offense, we're never out of a football game," Stonebraker said.

The players said they never felt they were out of it.

"We knew we could score quick on anybody in the state," Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield was 18-for-31 for 307 passing yards, and he rushed for a team-high 104 yards on 23 carries. Williams was one of eight different receivers who caught passes for Garrard. His touchdown catch was his only reception.

"They were all coming after Dan (Leavell) and Zach (Doan), our big playmakers," Williams said.

Williams was wide open down the middle of the field just inside the 10-yard line and had a clear path to the end zone.

"It was a wheel play, and either I was going to be open or Bruce was going to be open," Doan said. "I was just hoping Bruce could catch the ball."

After taking lead, Lions stop Western

The play completed a seven-play, 61-yard drive that took only 1:28. The Lions then stopped Western (7-4) on four straight plays, the biggest of which was a sack of quarterback Charles Shephard by a gang of Garrard defenders that included Doan, Williams and Josh Owens.

"We put quite a bit of pressure on (Shephard) the last three plays," Doan said.

Garrard tied the game in the third quarter with a pair of 65-yard scoring drives. The first featured passes by Crutchfield of 15 yards to Doan, who had a game-high six catches for 67 yards, and 26 yards to Leavell; the second featured a 30-yard catch by Leavell and a 23-yard catch by Jared Prewitt.

The Lions took their first lead at 24-21 on Corey Horn's 29-yard field goal with 10:41 remaining, but Western scored 2:21 later to go up 28-24.

Garrard might have re-gained the lead on its next drive, but Daniel Barker fumbled the ball at the Western 1-yard line after a 37-yard reception, and the ball went into and out of the end zone to give the Warriors a touchback with 5:30 to play. The Lions then held Western to one first down to get the ball back with 2:28 left.

Garrard's defense did a much better job of containing Western running back Corey Goodson in the second half after he rushed for 165 yards in the first half.

"We moved down our ends a little tighter and tried to take away his initial running lanes," Stonebraker said.

Goodson gains 259 yards

Goodson, who finished with 259 yards on 26 carries, had touchdown runs of 70 and 60 yards in the first quarter.

Western also got a first-quarter score when linebacker David Johnson ripped the ball out of Crutchfield's hand and returned it 89 yards to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead.

"I think we just underestimated them," Williams said. "We thought they were a little soft."

But Doan said the Lions weren't discouraged.

"Definitely not," he said. "We're never gonna quit 'til that clock says zero. We just knew we had to work a little harder."

The Garrard players know they'll also have to work hard to beat Elizabethtown, but that's been a goal of theirs all season. A sign reading "Beat Etown" has hung in the Lions' locker room as a reminder of their loss last year.

"It's going to be a great game," Crutchfield said. "We've been looking forward to it all year."

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