LLOYD As Russell lined up for a team picture on Greenup County’s field on Friday night, strategically placing the scoreboard in the background, it was turned off.
“We know the score!” a Red Devil yelled.
It was 42-0, Russell, a resounding margin that doesn’t tell the whole story because that was the score at halftime.
It was a Backyard Brawl beating on both sides of the ball. Russell had three rushers — Charlie Jachimczuk, Malakai Anderson and Nathan Conley — pick up 78 yards or more, but Class 3A’s No. 5 rushing team in yards per game scored as many times in the passing game as it did on the ground.
The Red Devils also held Class 3A’s leading passer, Musketeers quarterback Eli Sammons, to 4 yards passing in the first half and 48 for the game.
“We think we’ve got a really good defense, our defensive coaches do a great job, and our kids take a lot of pride in that,” Russell coach T.J. Maynard said. “We challenged them all week. Eli’s a great quarterback, and what they do, they do it well. Gotta give credit to my coaches, they put in a really nice scheme trying to take away some of the stuff that (Greenup County) really likes to do, and our kids went out and executed, and they played hard.”
An Air Evac helicopter from Portsmouth delivered the game ball about 15 minutes before the game. Russell put the ball right back in the air about three minutes of game time later.
After Red Devils rushes on the first five plays from scrimmage and a Musketeers offsides penalty yielded 36 yards, Jachimczuk dropped to pass. Josh Griffith and Isaac Jenkins both got wide open behind the Greenup County secondary.
“I didn’t know if he knew who to throw it to,” Maynard cracked.
Jachimczuk led Griffith perfectly for a 39-yard score at the 9:56 mark. He found Griffith again from 34 yards out with 3:50 to go in the second quarter.
Maynard credited Red Devils assistant coach Lee Evans with discovering the wrinkle that set up the first score.
“We know (opposing defenses) are gonna load the box on us, because we want to run the football first,” Maynard said, “but if you’re gonna load it, we’re gonna take some shots, and luckily, it worked out.”
That particular play was a product of Greenup County putting so much effort into stopping the Red Devils’ rushing game that the Musketeers left the gate open, Greenup County coach Scott Grizzle said.
“Jachimczuk’s obviously a good passer and has that ability to throw the ball down the field,” Grizzle said. “That was just a situation of our guys not having good eye discipline and watching their keys. ... It’s tough when they’re running the ball down your throat, everybody’s geared up to stop the run, and that’s what that offense is designed to do, and they do a good job of it.”
Griffith, who collected his first two-touchdown game at the varsity level, was perhaps more excited about what the Red Devils did in the rushing game — 298 yards and three TDs — and the receivers’ role in it.
“We take great pride in our blocking, which is not something that a lot of receivers really take pride in,” Griffith said. “That’s everything to us, being able to run the ball. That’s what Russell’s done in the past. It’s kinda like a legacy to us. We’re following in the legacy of the Russell players before us; Russell players after us will run the ball. It’s what we do, and we love to do it.”
Conley rushed for two scores and 78 yards, Jachimczuk amassed 96 yards and a TD, and Anderson ran for 87 yards.
Jachimczuk also completed five of seven passes for 88 yards and three scores en route to team game MVP honors. The last one, a 3-yarder to Isaac Jenkins with 1:27 to go in the first half, set the continually running clock in motion.
It was quite a departure from last year, a 41-21 Musketeers victory on the same field, and the five before it. The Backyard Brawl in each of those years was decided by a touchdown or less, including a Greenup County overtime win at Russell in 2017 that was the first of back-to-back Musketeers conquests — a distinction that had never happened before last year.
Russell (6-1, 1-0 Class 3A, District 7) was intent on the streak stopping there.
“It’s such a big deal, especially for our senior year and being able to get the trophy back home,” Griffith said. “We talked about reclaiming a lot of the trophies that we lost last year.”
Greenup County (3-4, 0-1 district) got some tough running out of Bryce Burgess, who ran for 47 yards and claimed team MVP recognition. But the Musketeers were down 14-0 before picking up their first first down and couldn’t get much going in their fast-paced passing game until it was already out of hand.
“Any time a team jumps out 21-0, 28-0, that uphill battle is really tough to overcome, especially against a good team like Russell,” Grizzle said. “They’re gonna control the ball and not make mistakes. Russell gets up on you 28-0, they got a huge advantage, obviously. They’re gonna take care of the football, and it’s an uphill climb.”
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RUSSELL 14 28 0 0 — 42
GREENUP CO. 0 0 0 0 — 0
R — Josh Griffith 39 pass from Charlie Jachimczuk (Gabe Floyd kick), 8:56
R — Nathan Conley 4 run (Floyd kick), 4:47
R — Jachimczuk 8 run (Floyd kick), 10:19
R — Conley 18 run (Floyd kick), 7:44
R — Griffith 34 pass from Jachimczuk (Floyd kick), 3:50
R — Isaac Jenkins 3 pass from Jachimczuk (Floyd kick), 1:27
First Downs 18 7
Rushes-Yards 43-298 20-86
Comp-Att-Int 5-7-0 8-19-0
Passing Yards 88 48
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-2
Punts-Avg. 0-0 2-21.0
Penalties-Yards 5-45 13-87
Russell rushing: Jachimczuk 7-96, Anderson 9-87, Conley 14-78, Parsons 5-18, D. Oborne 1-8, Hartman 2-8, E. Oborne 2-7, Team 3-(-4).
Greenup County rushing: Burgess 11-47, Broyes 5-40, Sammons 2-5, Team 2-(-6).
Russell passing: Jachimczuk 5 of 7 for 88 yards.
Greenup County passing: Sammons 8 of 19 for 48 yards.
Russell receiving: Griffith 3-79, Pack 1-6, Jenkins 1-3.
Greenup County receiving: Evans 4-31, Carter 2-23, Clarkson 1-(-2), Burgess 1-(-4).