Garrard County bruises its way past East Jessamine

Published 12:59 am Saturday, September 16, 2017

LANCASTER — There were ups and downs for both teams Friday night at Garrard County.

The Golden Lions were the team to finish on a high, taking down East Jessamine 18-13 behind a two-touchdown performance from Josh Warren.

Both teams pounded the rock and ended with near-identical rushing stats: East finished with 39 runs for 159 yards, Garrard ran 37 times for 157 yards.

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“I thought we played peaks and valleys,” Garrard coach Jerry Perry said. “I thought we could play a whole lot better, but I thought they had a lot to do with it. I thought we came out early and played well, but at the same time, we got too high. Then when something bad happened I thought we went really south.”

Garrard was on a high in the first quarter, cruising and bruising its way to two touchdowns. The first was a 35-yard run by Warren, less than 90 seconds into the game.

The second was a 32-yard reception by Warren, flattening an East Jessamine defender on his way to the end zone.

But East Jessamine bounced back: Quarterback Cameron Garrett snuck in a one-yard run, two minutes into the second quarter.

A fumble from Warren killed Garrard’s next drive at midfield, and the score would remain 12-7 through the remainder of the half.

“As soon as they scored, instead of us saying ‘that’s OK,’ I feel like we went in the tank for a quarter, two quarters,” Perry said. “We were lucky they didn’t score some more, because they had some open receivers, they just didn’t complete passes. They completed one in the second half and scored.”

Garrett finished 7-for-20 through the air, completing a 22-yard touchdown to Storm Wilson with three minutes gone in the third quarter.

Entering the fourth quarter, East Jessamine led 13-12.

Perry made two changes in the fourth quarter: He switched to the wishbone on offense and moved Ethan Ponton from nose guard to defensive tackle.

“We really didn’t find ourselves until we got in the wishbone,” Perry said. “Then when we did that, we started playing better defense. Why, I have no answer to that. But I’m happy with our effort, obviously I’m happy we won. But we’ve got to not play with the peaks and valleys. We’ve got to stay steady and keep our game on an even keel, not get too excited and not get too down.”

Garrard scored the go-ahead touchdown when Isaccs found Colton Howard on a fourth and five play from the 25 yard line. The score put Garrard ahead 18-13 with 6:43 remaining.

“We hung in there, we kept playing and that’s all we could do. Luckily for us, we had something we could go to and it worked for us,” Perry said. “A big pass play for Connor to Colton Howard, fourth down play, that was huge for us. It got us over the top.”

Isaccs finished 3-for-4 with 85 yards and two scores. His favorite target this season, Anthony Justus, left the game midway through the second half.

“We’re beat up pretty bad,” Perry said. We lost another one tonight, all I can hope for now is that we get healed up by the time we get to the district game. Next week Danville, our best skill guy is out and that right there gives us some tough matchups. But it’s a chance for someone else to play and see what they can do and we’ll go with that.”

East had two chances in the final minutes of the game: Garrard missed a field goal that would’ve put the Golden Lions ahead by eight points, but instead, the Jaguars had chances to win the game.

But Ponton stepped up. He blew up the Jaguars’ backfield on multiple occasions in the final two drives.

“He’s a really good player,” Perry said. “We were playing him with a one-technique a lot tonight, we put him back in the two-technique and he does better in a two. It was a good grind. I’m glad we won, because we could’ve grinded it out and lost. It’s a whole lot easier to deal with these guys after a win.”

Perry caught himself after saying that — the Golden Lions have struggled this season after a win. They’re 3-2 this year, but each loss followed a win.

He said as long as the team is in good shape near the end of the season, he’ll be happy.

“We seem to come out the next game in la la land,” Perry said. “We’ll have to see. We’re glad we won the game, but it’s all about the 11th week. If we can manage to get ourselves a win in the 11th week, that’s what we’re looking for. It’s like I told our guys, we could end up being a pretty good team, but the record may not say that. We could’ve done like some other people and scheduled games that weren’t tough. We’re playing bigger schools and it’s tough on you for numbers. We could have taken a lighter path, but I don’t think that would have generated anything for us later in week 11.”