Garrard County falls apart in the second half, falls at Lexington Catholic

Published 11:38 pm Friday, November 10, 2017


LEXINGTON – It was Garrard County’s entire season, encapsulated in a few short minutes.

Things were going so well for the Golden Lions late in the first half, and they still weren’t so bad in the first minute of the second half. Then it all went so wrong, so fast.

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One mistake led to another and another and another as Lexington Catholic scored 28 points in 3 minutes, 13 seconds and handed Garrard a 56-16 defeat that ended the Lions’ season in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs at Joseph K. Ford Stadium.

“It was almost like our whole season in one game,” Garrard coach Jerry Perry said. “We showed what we’re capable of, and then turned around and showed what we’re capable of.”

It’s important to note that Garrard (4-8) led this game 16-14 at halftime. Josh Warren rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and Anthony Justus preserved the Lions’ lead with an interception at the Garrard 7-yard line 25 seconds before the second period ended.

Barely three minutes into the third quarter, however, there was little question that the tide had irreversibly turned. And just over two minutes into the fourth quarter, the mercy rule had kicked in and the clock was running continuously.

Beau Allen threw four touchdown passes in the third quarter for Lexington Catholic (7-5), which defeated Garrard 42-24 four weeks earlier, and he threw for 351 yards and six touchdowns in all to propel the Knights into the regional finals and a rematch with Boyle County next Friday.

It all started with a kickoff, which turned into a kick in the teeth for Garrard.

Lexington Catholic needed just four plays to score on the first series of the second half, taking a 21-16 lead on a 17-yard touchdown run by Dameon Jones 57 seconds into the third quarter.

Francisco Rios’ ensuing kickoff was allowed to bounce near the 20-yard line, about 5 yards from the nearest Garrard player. It bounced backward, and the Knights’ Jake Topley fell on it at the 23 before the Lions could reach it.

Then came a four-play scoring drive, an interception returned 35 yards to the Garrard 8 by Carson Brownell that led to another touchdown on the next play. There was a fumble on the kickoff, and Lexington Catholic scored three plays later on Allen’s third TD pass in a span of 2:38 to take a 42-16 lead.

“You saw how bad we handled adversity in the second half. When adversity hit, we didn’t strike back,” Perry said. “As soon as we didn’t get that kickoff, the game was over.”

Garrard scored twice in the second quarter to match Lexington Catholic touchdowns. The Lions drove 61 yards in 12 plays for their first score, going up 8-7 with 10:04 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard run and a two-point conversion run by Warren.

Warren scored on a 3-yard run with 4:53 left to cap a 10-play, 91-yard drive kept alive with a fourth-down conversion when Connor Isaacs completed a 22-yard pass to Trace Poynter at the Lexington Catholic 3.

“I’m very proud of our effort in the first half,” Perry said. “It was all fine (at halftime and) even after they scored (early in the second half), until we don’t field the kickoff.”

Warren finished with 179 yards on 33 carries, and Isaacs completed three of six passes for 57 yards.

Allen was 14 for 23 for Lexington Catholic, which has won its last 10 meetings with Garrard – including five in the last three seasons.

The Knights netted 461 yards on 37 plays, while the Lions had 373 yards on 73 plays.