Seven turnovers doom Garrard in 47-18 playoff loss

November 14, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

ELIZABETHTOWN - The Garrard County Golden Lions were hurting, as any team would hurt when its season ends. Once again, the wounds were largely self-inflicted.

The same troubles with turnovers that Garrard suffered in its previous two games were too much to overcome Friday night, when the Lions were eliminated from the Class AA playoffs with a 47-18 loss to Elizabethtown.

Garrard surrendered the ball seven times, and Elizabethtown converted four of the Lions' six first-half giveaways into touchdowns to end their season for the second straight year.

"Turnovers finally got the best of us," Garrard assistant coach Stephen Brogli said. "We were able to fight back a couple of times, but chances are they're going to get you, and they got us tonight."


Garrard (9-3) committed 18 turnovers in its last three games, and its turnover margin of minus-11 during that period sent its season total to minus-19.

The Lions were able to overcome early turnovers to beat Western in their playoff opener. But Elizabethtown wasn't going to let that happen again.

"They've got a heck of a team, and they've got great team speed," Brogli said. "You make mistakes against a team like that, and you're going to get beat."

Stonebraker ejected; Crutchfield hurt

Garrard's season ended with its coach in the locker room and its star quarterback on the sideline. Coach Steve Stonebraker was ejected from the game late in the first half for arguing with officials, and quarterback Spencer Crutchfield suffered an injury to his throwing arm that prevented him from playing in the second half.

Five of the Lions' turnovers came in the second quarter - including four interceptions by Crutchfield - and Elizabethtown (11-1) capitalized on four of them to take a 27-0 halftime lead.

"We've been able to do that this year for the most part," Elizabethtown coach Brett Burnett said.

Anthony Bradley had three interceptions for Elizabethtown, and Josh Babb had one.

"Those picks early really helped take away some opportu-nities for them," Burnett said.

The Panthers' first score came on a nine-play, 91-yard drive, but they needed a total of only seven plays for their next three scores.

Stonebraker was seething on the sideline as the mistakes mounted, and his mood only got worse when a Garrard interception was nullified by a personal foul penalty and the scoreboard clock was left running on several occasions when it should have stopped.

In the final minute of the first half, when Crutchfield threw his fourth interception, the Garrard coach reached the boiling point. His shouts at the officials drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but that only incited him to venture further onto the field and continue his protest.

The referee threw a second flag for unsportsmanlike conduct and tossed Stonebraker out of the game, and he briefly had to be restrained by players and coaches before leaving the field.

The 30 penalty yards advanced Elizabethtown to its own 45-yard line, and the Panthers needed only three plays and 23 seconds to score their final touchdown of the first half at :06.

Garrard had advanced the ball a total of 107 yards and gained nine first downs on its first two possessions, but both ended in turnovers that kept it from taking an early lead.

"The momentum swung in the first quarter," Brogli said.

Leavell returns interception

Garrard finally got on the scoreboard on the first play of the third quarter, when Dan Leavell returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown. But the Lions gave up two more scores in the next 4:21 to fall behind 40-6.

Backup quarterback Jared Prewitt scored on a 2-yard run midway through the third period. But he went down with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter, and Garrard turned to Bruce Williams, who played quarterback for several games last season after Crutchfield was injured.

Williams led one last touchdown drive, an eight-play, 68-yard effort that ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by Zach Doan with 62 seconds to play.

Minutes later, the tears flowed freely from the Garrard seniors whose careers had just ended.

"As a coach, you appreciate seeing the kids hurting after a loss," Brogli said. "We haven't seen that hurt before. They expect to win."

Doan was Garrard's leading rusher with seven carries for 79 yards, all in the second half. Crutchfield had 17 of Garrard's 19 first-half rushing attempts and gained 56 yards, and he completed 10 of 18 passes for 122 yards.

Elizabethtown quarterback Chris Todd was 14-for-20 for 262 yards, and he threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one. Running back Jesse French scored four times.

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