For The Independent
Boyd County coach John Gilliam had a huge smile frozen on his face Friday night and it wasn't from the frosty temperatures.
Gilliam's young team won its first game of the season with the help of some late-game drama.
After receiving the pitch from quarterback Billy McCoy, running back Tanner Edmonds found Drew Wilkes streaking past the defense for a dramatic 96-yard touchdown pass to propel the Lions to a 25-21defeat of Greenup County at Greenup County High School.
With the ball near its own goal line, Gilliam didn't realize what play was called but was thankful for the result.
“My assistants didn't tell me they were running that play,” Gilliam said. “I would have passed out on the sideline if I knew.
“We practice that play at least once or twice during the week,” he continued. “For Coach Holbrook and Coach Frasure to have the guts to call that play on the goal line, it was really good.”
Greenup County (2-7) seemed to be driving down the field for the decisive touchdown late in the game.
With two minutes left, the Lions’ defense stiffened on fourth down near the goal line to set up the winning play.
Greenup County coach Chris Mullins has been pleased with his team’s effort all season but claims his team is still learning how to be mentally tough at the end of games.
“We have a tendency at the end of games to make big mistakes,” Mullins said. “The effort is there but we just don’t have enough confidence when it really matters.
“We have to fix the mindset and not make those crucial mistakes at the end of games,” he added. “Give Boyd County credit on the great play call at the end of the game.”
Despite losing its top two running backs, the Musketeers continually have players step up in their place.
Matt Lawson carried the load for Greenup County with 200 yards on 29 carries.
The win earns the Lions a playoff berth and a trip up to northern Kentucky against Highlands in two weeks.
While Gilliam admitted that it has had a long season, he is proud of the way his team continues to fight.
“I am so proud of the way our kids continue to work,” Gilliam said. “After not having a lot of success, you would think some kids could fade but our senior have been great leaders. To get this win is a great feeling.”