Prep Football: Anderson claims 'ugly' 24-16 win over Garrard
Garrard County quarterback Billy Abney (6) hands off to Garrett Caudill in the Golden Lions¿ 24-16 loss to Anderson County in The Bob Allen Pigskin Classic. Abney later left the game with a knee injury. (Clay Jackson / August 26, 2012)
Zach Carmichael, who was named the game's most valuable player, threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns to lead Anderson to a hard-fought 24-16 victory at Admiral Stadium in a matchup of teams that both won regional championships last year.
“We will take it. It was ugly at times, but Garrard is big and physical and we had to do some things to hang on to win the game,” said Peach. “They had a fantastic game plan and we’re just happy we hung on to win.”
Scenters wasn’t happy his team lost, but he had no complaints with the team’s effort against the 2011 Class AAAAA state runner-up.
“I am never disappointed with their heart and effort. We can execute better, but they always play with so much heart and desire,” Scenters said. “You can’t be disappointed when you fight this hard against a team as good as Anderson.”
Scenters was not sure how serious the fourth-quarter injury to senior quarterback Billy Abney, who scored a touchdown, might be.
“It is a knee, but we just don’t know how bad at this point. We are praying it will not be serious,” Scenters said.
Anderson didn’t have the ball often in the first half — or the game. Garrard had 55 plays to Anderson’s 40.
“We let them recover an onsides kick and throw a big pass on a fake punt, and that takes two possessions away from us even though it doesn’t show as a turnover,” Peach said. “That made it a lot harder on us, but credit them.”
When the Bearcats (1-1) did have the ball, they made the most of it.
“Coach Peach always does a fantastic job with his offense and finds every weakness you have, and did again tonight,” Scenters said.
Carmichael hit Russ Cox with a 51-yard bomb on the game’s first play and went 5-for-6 for 121 yards in the first half, including a 30-yard touchdown strike to Cox.
Granville Hayes ended the opening drive with a 6-yard scoring run just 61 seconds into the game before Anderson had to settle for a 19-yard field goal from Joe Rose to end a 14-play, 76-yard drive possession on its second possession to build a 10-0 lead.
Then Garrard’s offense countered with a 68-yard, 15-play drive dominated by its offense line that ended with quarterback Billy Abney’s 3-yard scoring plunge to cut the lead to 10-6 midway of period two.
Garrard recovered an onsides kick but the Anderson defense held and with 3:27 left before half the Bearcats got the ball for the first time in the second period. However, it took just 49 seconds to march 90 yards that included runs of 22 yards by Ryan McGregor and 42 yards by Granville Hayes before Carmichael connected with Cox, who had three catches for 99 yards in the first half, for the score.
The Golden Lions (1-1) came close to countering the score by reaching the Anderson 12-yard line before settling for a 29-yard field goal by Garrett Caudill to end the half with Anderson leading 17-9.
“That field goal was a big play by them,” Peach said. “It made it a one possession game and just was not a very good effort by us on that drive or even trying to block the field goal.”
Both teams had just one possession the third quarter as Garrard missed a chance to possibly tie the game when Caudill fumbled a pitchout at the AC 14 and Anderson recovered. The Bearcats maneuvered 86 yards in eight plays to score on a 13-yard pass to Austin Hall to take a 24-9 lead with 11:20 left.
“We had so much trouble covering Cox the first half that we had to shade him and then Anderson went to the other receiver,” Scenters said.