The spotlight shined brightly all week on the father-son matchup between Boyd County first-year head coach John Gilliam and Rowan County senior lineman Austin Gilliam.
After a pregame ceremony that caught both Gilliams off guard, Austin and the rest of Rowan County’s offensive line set the stage for a 40-12 romp at Tom Scott Field.
“They physically took us to the woodshed,” Boyd County’s coach said after watching the Vikings rack up 415 yards on the ground. “We didn’t respond.”
Rowan County tailback Isaac Lee, taking advantage of gaping holes created by his blockers, ran wild for a career-high 280 yards on only 14 carries.
“Isaac was a madman tonight,” said Austin Gilliam, a 250-pound tackle and two-time All-Area selection. “He was running like crazy. We gave him the holes and he made plays.”
Lee’s three touchdown jaunts covered 27, 80 and 69 yards. Truck-like Keontae Moore also rumbled 48 yards to the end zone, while fullback Michael Lambert scored on two short runs.
“It was a total team effort,” the younger Gilliam said. “We love blocking for Isaac and all our backs. We really clicked. We really played well.”
That included the defense, which intercepted four passes in the second half to help Rowan County pull away after leading 13-6 at the break.
Boyd County’s Quarterback Club organized a special presentation prior to opening kickoff after team captains and their head coaches walked to the middle of the field.
Austin’s career was recognized over the public address system. Then his older sister, Caitlyn, and younger brother, Mason, presented Austin and coach Gilliam with a framed certificate to commemorate the evening. Photos were also taken.
The quarterback club’s primary motivation was that both teams have their senior nights set for Nov. 1, leaving John Gilliam unable to attend Austin’s special night.
“Boyd County is so classy,” Austin said. “It was unbelievable. Boyd County has been so good to my father. For them to do that was over the top.”
John Gilliam called it an emotional experience.
“I’m so proud of Austin, what he’s done, the person he is and how hard he’s worked,” the father/coach said.
Rowan County improved to 3-5 overall and 2-1 in Class 4A, District 8. Boyd County slipped to 0-8 (0-3 district).
The Lions had success moving the ball in the first half, but had to settle for three field goal attempts. Zac Bruner connected from 30 and 27 yards, while missing a 36-yarder in between.
Lee want 27 yards on draw play for Rowan County’s first touchdown, then bolted 80 yards to the end zone in the second quarter.
The Vikings’ Carson Plank made his first of two third-quarter interceptions to set up a 1-yard score by Plank to make it 20-6. Moore and Lee tacked on long scoring makes as Rowan County broke the game open.
“That’s been one of our main strengths,” Rowan County coach Kyle Singleton said. “We have three seniors and two juniors up front that do a great job.”
Boyd County got into the end zone in the fourth quarter on backup quarterback Cade Isaacs’ 69-yard pass to Christian Braly.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2671.