Garrard County wins big in opener against Powell County

Published 12:17 am Saturday, August 19, 2017

LANCASTER — Garrard County did what Garrard County does.

The Golden Lions ran the ball more than 90 percent of the time Friday, steamrolling Powell County 38-0.

Running back Josh Warren led the way for Garrard, carrying 29 times for 144 yards and four touchdowns. All four of his touchdowns were within five yards.

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As good as Garrard was at running the ball, Powell struggled. The Pirates finished with 19 carries for 50 yards.

Garrard coach Jerry Perry credited his linemen for controlling the trenches throughout the game.

“We’ve said that all along. A lot of people get confused, our linemen are probably our best players,” Perry said. “Josh is really good, and there’s some other good pieces. But when you look at the bigger picture, our offensive linemen have been our better players. So we gear things toward that.”

Perry said the win was a good one to get the season started, but his team’s schedule doesn’t get any easier. Garrard’s next two games are against 5A opponents — Madison Southern and Lincoln County.

“It’s a good win to get the season started, but it’s a long season,” Perry said. “With our schedule, we tell our kids, they have to play every play, every game. We’ve got to get a lot better. We do have some good pieces, but we’ve got to get a lot better and we’ve got to develop some depth.

“Any time you win it’s good. The kids have worked hard and they deserve this win. They were the better team. Now we’ve got to get ready for Madison Southern, which is a really good football team.”

The Garrard offense pounded the ball 51 times for 277 yards and five touchdowns. Newcomer David Pennington ran in the only touchdown not belonging to Warren, a 6-yard scamper in the final quarter. He finished with four carries for 29 yards.

Quarterback Connor Isaccs threw three times, completing one pass to playmaker Anthony Justus for 26 yards. He also threw one interception.

But right after that pick, Justus got the ball right back with an interception of his own, diving backward to make the play over the Powell wide receiver.

“We would’ve liked to have thrown the ball more, but at the same time, I’m not concerning myself with that,” Perry said. “I feel like we threw it when we wanted to. We completed one to them and they completed one to us. So that is what it is, and we’ll just keep going from there.”

Justus finished as the second-leading rusher, running four times for 46 yards. He also had a 50-plus yard punt return that set up Pennington’s touchdown.

Perry said he and his coaching staff want to get Justus the ball as much as they can because of his playmaking ability. But that caused some miscues early in the game — Garrard used all three first-half timeouts in the first quarter due to communication breakdowns.

“We had a lot of confusion because there’s a lot of new pieces,” Perry said. “We’re using Anthony in a lot of new ways. We’re using him as a runner. We want him to touch the ball 10 or 12 times a game. We can throw it to him, get kicks, hand it to him. Because he’s a really good athlete. So the goal was to get him in a position to touch the ball more, even if we’re not throwing it to him. We can still throw it to him, but we want to have that ability to hand him the ball because he can do stuff. We’ve added that to our gameplan and I think he’ll get even better at that. The more he touches it, the better he’s going to do.”