LLOYD — Greenup County football’s strategy this season is pretty simple, strike early and often. Only 6 minutes into the opening stanza Friday night on the “Farm”, Greenup County had already dented the scoreboard three times and left Fleming County watching in a cloud of dust.
Dalton Halstead rushed for 140 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns and Eli Sammons tossed for 245 yards and three scores as the Musketeers steamrolled the Panthers 60-13.
“Really proud of my team tonight because we challenged them this week and they answered,” Greenup County coach Scott Grizzle said. “We knew Fleming was a dangerous team and if you let them get momentum with what they can do on offense, they can score really fast. We just felt like getting a quick start tonight was huge. Our guys came out and kept their foot on the gas.”
Halstead ran for scores of nine, 13 and 43 yards while delivering punishing blows to the defense who tried to bring the bullish back to the ground.
“I think it’s really time that he starts getting recognized as one of the best backs in the state in Class 4A,” Grizzle said. “He proves it every night. Just give him the ball and watch him do his thing. Credit the offensive line as well they played incredible and credit Coach (Jamie) Kennedy. I keep talking about him, but he’s been outstanding with the line guys and it really showed tonight.”
Greenup amassed 217 total yards on the ground, but Fleming County coach Bill Spencer said the key to slowing Greenup County down is halting the senior tailback.
“They are a very good offensive football team and a very good football team all around,” Spencer said. “We knew the key was going to be stopping Halstead and we didn’t do a good enough job of slowing him down tonight and that just set their whole offense up tonight.”
Halstead’s final score of the contest came only 14 seconds into the second half after the Musketeers’ Sean Tucker forced a fumble of Cole Saunders near midfield.
“That’s a senior making a big play,” Grizzle said of Tucker. “We tell our guys at halftime it’s the first five minutes of the third quarter that really swings the momentum. Great to see those guys respond and get a big special team play. Tuck is a senior and a kid that works really hard.”
Halstead’s score followed by Trey Collier’s fifth extra point of the night started the running clock on the Panthers’ second half comeback hopes. Collier finished the game a perfect 6 of 6 while adding a 27-yard field goal before the break.
“We’ve got us a pretty good kicker,” Grizzle chuckled. “I’m really proud of him and what an awesome opportunity for him to kick a field goal in a regular season game before we get into district play and playoffs. That experience is so valuable for him and its important because we are going to need another one. Great to see him step up because it wasn’t a chip shot. He kicked it well and I’m proud of him.”
All three phases of Greenup County’s attack excelled in the lop-sided win, including a stingy effort by the defensive unit that held the Panthers to negative 15 yards on 27 carries while recording six quarterback sacks.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Grizzle said. “We talked all week about getting after the quarterback because we knew he was such a dangerous weapon for them. Keith Sparks, a senior, did such a great job on the quarterback. Brecken (Thomas) just keeps making plays and it’s just something you expect from him every week.”
Patrick Kelly and Austin Clarkson paced the Musketeers’ air attack, both going over 100 yards while adding a score each. Clarkson hauled in a 77-yard score in the first. Kelly followed with a 37-yard plunge after stiff-arming Saunders at the goal line.
Johnny Maher led the Panthers with 135 yards through the air with a touchdown and inception. His lone score came on a 15-yard toss to C.J. Gulley late in the contest.
“He’s just a fighter and no matter what he plays he plays to win,” Spencer said of Maher. “He’s still learning to be a quarterback for us but as the season goes along I think he’s just going to get better and better.”
Greenup County welcomes rival Raceland next week while Fleming County travels to Rowan County.
MUSKETEERS, 60, PANTHERS 13
GC — Dalton Halstead 9 run (Trey Collier kick), 10:26
GC— Austin Clarkson 77 pass from Eli Sammons (Collier kick), 7:32
GC — Patrick Kelly 37 pass from Sammons (Collier kick), 5:15
GC — Brecken Thomas 8 run (Collier kick), 9:57
FC — Tanner Weaver 1 run (Kick blocked), 6:05
GC—Halstead 13 run (Sammons run), 3:22
GC—Collier 27 Field Goal, 0:10
GC — Halstead 43 run (Collier kick), 11:46
FC—CJ Gulley 15 pass from Johnny Maher (Austin Page Kick), 5:16
GC — Thomas 5 pass from Sammons (Collier kick), 10:37
GC—Quinton Farrow 4 run (Ian Miller kick), 2:00