LLOYD Greenup County wants to start a few streaks of its own.
Patrick Kelly streaked to the top of the school’s all-time receiving list after his big night.
After a slow start, the Musketeers controlled the final three quarters to take the latest installment of the Backyard Brawl with a 41-21 win over Russell at Greenup County High School on Saturday night.
The Musketeers have won consecutive meetings with the Red Devils for the first time after Russell was victorious in 15 of the previous 16 games.
It’s all part of the winning culture that coach Scott Grizzle and his staff are trying to produce at Greenup County.
“It’s big for our program,” Grizzle said. “Our kids are to the point now where they expect to win every game. We respect every opponent, but we expect to win. It’s a good confidence builder, but at the same time, we made a lot of mistakes. We have a lot to improve on. I thought our composure was a little iffy at times. Missed assignments. It was a great win for our kids.”
Kelly was more focused on the Musketeers starting 2-0 for the second straight season.
“I don’t think it was that important to start a streak, we just needed to get out there and win the game,” Kelly said. “We have to take it week-by-week. It doesn’t matter who we play, we want to win.”
The senior caught four balls for 161 yards and hooked up with quarterback Eli Sammons for scoring strikes of 54 and 64 yards in the third quarter. Kelly was awarded his team’s Most Valuable Player after the game.
“There were a lot of great receivers before me,” Kelly said. “It's just an amazing feeling.
“Eli is a great quarterback,” he added. “We have a great offensive line blocking for us. It all starts with them. Eli knows where to get me the ball. It was a team effort.”
Grizzle said Kelly is getting the recognition he rightly deserves.
“Patrick is a special kid,” Grizzle said. “You never have to worry about him in practice. He is going to bring it. He is going to hold his teammates accountable. It’s great to see a kid who works that hard achieve something like that.”
Russell dominated the clock in the opening quarter, possessing the ball for nearly 10 minutes. Nathan Conley sprinted for a 20-yard gain on the first snap of the game. It started a 10-play march down the field that was finished off by Malakai Anderson’s 1-yd TD plunge.
The Musketeers turned the ball over the first time they held it. Opposing players came down with the football after Sammons hurled it downfield, but the referees awarded the interception to Russell.
“Russell is a well-coached team,” Grizzle said. “We just told our guys you have to weather the storm. We knew they were going to come out aggressive. We just kept chopping, that’s our motto, and we felt like things would turn in our favor.”
Greenup County opened the second half with its own sustained drive. Dalton Halstead carried his team down the field and scored a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the frame.
Halstead had 24 carries for 172 yards and three touchdowns.
“He is an incredible back,” Grizzle said. “He brings it every Friday night. It all starts with those five guys up front. Coach Jaime Kennedy does a great job. Those guys move the pile and create the holes.”
After foiling a Russell fake punt, Sammons hit Kelly down the field with a 29-yard pass, setting up another short TD run from Halstead.
The last five games in the series had been decided by a touchdown or less but that streak changed after Greenup County grabbed the momentum in the second frame and would never let it go. The Red Devils accumulated just eight yards in the quarter.
Russell coach T.J. Maynard said the loss fell on his shoulders.
“First of all, hats off to Greenup County,” Maynard said. “They played a great game. I take full responsibility. We had some major blunders as a coaching staff. We have to get better about putting our kids in better positions to be successful.”
The Musketeers used big plays to open up the gap after halftime. Austin Evans found a seam on a fake punt to rumble 56 yards to paydirt. Halstead broke free for a 66-yard sprint and another score late in the contest.
Landon Duvall was named the MVP for Russell (0-1). He rushed for 63 yards and recorded a third-quarter TD. Ethan Sharp added a late score from seven yards out for the Red Devils.
Russell implemented a two-quarterback system to begin the season. Grant Wilburn and Charlie Jachimczuk split field time but Wilburn was on the receiving end of a big hit from the Musketeers defense and had to leave the game. Jachimczuk took the remaining snaps.
“It’s going to be a work in progress in what each of them can do," Maynard said. “Grant is more seasoned than Charlie. Hopefully, we get Grant back soon. If not, Charlie will gain some valuable experience. I thought both did some very good things.”
RUSSELL 7 0 7 7 — 21
GREENUP CO. 0 14 20 7 — 41
R—Malakai Anderson 1 run (Gabe Floyd kick) 6:13
GC—Dalton Halstead 1 run (Trey Collier kick) 7:07
GC—Halstead 1 run (Collier kick) 4:10
GC—Patrick Kelly 54 pass from Eli Sammons (Collier kick) 8:35
GC—Kelly 64 pass from Sammons (kick failed) 5:12
R—Landon Duvall 22 run (Floyd kick) 4:22
GC—Austin Evans 56 run (Collier kick) 1:18
GC—Halstead 66 run (Collier kick) 4:50
R—Ethan Sharp 7 run (Floyd kick) 2:12
First Downs 16 14
Rushes-Yards 42-200 39-321
Comp-Att-Int 8-15-0 6-12-1
Passing Yards 85 175
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 1-37 1-26
Return Yards 0 0
Penalties-Yards 6-35 8-66
Russell rushing: Duvall 9-63, Conley 12-60, Horn 1-7, Sharp 4-19, Wilburn 4-6, Anderson 2-2, Jachimczuk 10-43.
Greenup County rushing: Halstead 24-172, Purdy 4-45, Burgess 6-31, Kelly 2-12, Thomas 2-8, Evans 4-56.
Russell passing: Wilburn 4 of 6 for 17 yards, Jachimczuk 4 of 9 for 68 yards.
Greenup County passing: Sammons 6 of 12 for 175 yards.
Russell receiving: Thompson 1-6, Griffith 3-55, Anderson 3-22, Conley 1-2.
Greenup County receiving: Kelly 4-161, Thomas 1-5, Halstead 1-9.