East Carter and Greenup County got defensive Friday night.
It was the season finales for both teams and, after four physical quarters of football, the game was still in doubt.
Raiders quarterback Cole McClain scored on a 1-yard keeper in overtime and Evan Huddle booted the extra point through the uprights to give East Carter a thrilling win over Greenup County, 13-12, at Greenup County High School.
The win resulted in jubilation on the Raiders’ sideline and another heartbreaking loss for the Muskeeteers.
“It may not have been pretty,” East Carter coach Zach Moore said, “but style points don't matter at this time of the year.”
The game was tied at 6-6 at the end of regulation. East Carter won the coin toss and elected to defer.
Matt Lawson plowed his way into the end zone from one yard out for his second touchdown of the game on Greenup County's overtime possession.
The Musketeers decided to go for two but were unable to convert when Kenton Boggs was stood up near the goal line.
East Carter (3-7) scored the winning touchdown and extra point three plays later.
Both teams struggled offensively for most of the game, due to the tenacity of both defenses.
“Our guys made just enough plays, especially on defense, to keep them out of the end zone and give us a chance to win at the end,” Moore said.
Lawson scored the game’s first touchdown on a two-yard plunge after an East Carter fumble set up Greenup County deep in Raiders territory. The Musketeers led 6-0.
Lawson ran for 188 yards on 33 carries.
“We have always been able to rely on him since he was a freshman,” Greenup County coach Chris Mullins said of his star running back. “He has done a great job. He is a tough kid and we are excited he is coming back next year.”
Boggs, a senior, added 71 yards.
Moore was proud of the way his team came back after a couple of early turnovers. The defense came up with several big stops including two big sacks by Robert Blevins to stop Greenup County on third down.
“It is a pity that we laid some balls on the ground, but our defense responded,” Moore said. “It has been an issue at times this year but better late than never.”
Greenup County now has lost four games by less than a touchdown this season. Mullins hopes his team can learn from these games to be on the winning side next year.
“They have represented our school with such class this year,” Mullins said. “I am so proud of the way they have played this year.”
“The kids just keep fighting,” he added. “I wish things would work out for them and they don’t. It’s just going to make us tougher in the long run.”
Jordan Ratcliff tied the game for East Carter when he sprinted for a 38-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.
Ratcliff led the Raiders with 108 yards on the ground.
Moore hopes this win can springboard his team into next season.
“Any time you win the last game, it keeps the kids excited and hungry,” Moore claimed. “We need to generate as much excitement about East Carter football as we can.”
Greenup County finished its season at 2-8.
The Musketeers honored seven seniors before the game. Mullins talked about what the seniors have meant to the program after the game.
“They are the best leaders we’ve had around here in a while,” Mullins said. “They always stay positive. They have made through the ups and downs our program has faced and that shows their character.
“They stuck it out and turned it this year. They made it a team that everyone respected inside and outside of the community.”
East Carter and Greenup County got defensive Friday night.
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