Greenup County found out how much mistakes can hurt in football.
The Musketeers committed 17 penalties that cost them 120 yards in a 26-20 loss to Lewis County on Friday night at Greenup County High School.
The heartbreaker for Greenup County head coach Chris Mullins was that a lot of the penalties came at the end of long gains, halting three potential scoring drives.
“The game is kind of summed up with the penalties,” Mullins said. “I told the boys that it was a game that we lost, not necessarily a game Lewis County won. Certainly, I don’t want to take anything away from them because they played a great game.
“But I feel like we played a great football game. You just can’t overcome over 100 yards in penalties and two turnovers and expect to win the game.”
Along with the penalties, Greenup County couldn’t stop the Lewis County passing game led by quarterback Isaac Weddington.
Weddington went 10 of 15 for 191 yards and threw for three touchdowns as well. The junior quarterback got the game started for the Lions with a 15-play, eight-minute drive that covered more than 70 yards.
The scoring play saw Weddington roll out and find receiver Jared Stapleton in the corner of the end zone on a play not called by Lewis County head coach Josh Hughes.
“That was all (Weddington),” Hughes said. “I had another play called but his was better. He does a great job reading defenses and he throws a great ball. And he does a great job standing in there and doing it.”
After Lewis County got on the board first, Greenup County answered with a long drive of its own. The Musketeers used a 13-play, seven-minute drive that went over 60 yards. It was capped off by sophomore running back Ryan Bird, who notched a 14-yard touchdown after breaking three Lewis County tackles.
Bird was the star for Greenup County, scoring all three Musketeers TDs. He ran for 155 yards on 20 carries.
“He played every snap at outside linebacker as well,” Mullins said. “I know he was tired, but he’s a gamer. That’s why he’s starting in the backfield right now. They gave us the weak-side run tonight, and that’s why I think his plays were more successful.”
Tied at 7-7 heading into halftime, Lewis County pulled a play-action pass in which Weddington faked a screen to receiver Chase Parker. Parker then ran a wheel route for a 16-yard gain.
That set up a Dalton Stamm 5-yard rushing touchdown to give Lewis County a 14-7 lead heading into the break.
“Their safety was biting on the run fake,” Hughes said. “So we thought (Parker) just had to get around the cornerback and we need to float on and we had a chance.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Lewis County added another touchdown with Weddington finding Parker on a 12-yard seam route in the end zone at the beginning of the fourth.
Greenup couldn’t find an answer until late in the game. On 3rd-and-18, Bird took a counter to the right side and found his way past the goal line to bring the Musketeers to within a touchdown.
When Lewis County got the ball back and a penalty forced it into and 2nd-and-23 situation on its own 21, Weddington delivered the backbreaker.
The quarterback found receiver Jordan Davis for a 79-yard touchdown with just two minutes left to play.
“That seam had been open all night,” Hughes said. “I don’t like calling that with a lead. But a coach upstairs said to me, ‘You know it’s open, right?’ I said all right, and we did it. Jordan Davis did a great job to bring that in.”
Davis, a junior, finished the game with four receptions for 118 yards in his first football game since eighth grade.
Greenup County scored again on a 1-yard run by Bird, but was down to 1:30 on the clock with only two timeouts.
After two short Lewis County gains and two Greenup County timeouts, the Musketeers forced a fumble on third down with just over a minute to play.
The Musketeers failed to get out of bounds on the first two plays and was forced to spike the ball. A Kenton Boggs run up the middle came up short of fourth down, sealing the win for Lewis County.
“If we had a little bit more field awareness maybe we could dive to get that thing out of bounds,” Mullins said.
The loss is Greenup County’s 23rd straight defeat. But Mullins saw something different after the final whistle blew on Friday night.
“The majority of team believed all the way through,” Mullins said. “We gave ourselves a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at khobstetter@
dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2658.