Saturday’s MMLK Backyard Brawl between the Greenup County Musketeers and the Russell Red Devils was a vicious fight for yardage that ended with Russell’s defeat over Greenup 7-6.
The game was a pretty evenly matched defensive competition in which neither team had ease moving the ball up the field. Though there was concern that the big bad Red Devils were still a bit young to step on the field against their longtime rival the Musketeers; however, it was clear within the first quarter that not only could the Devils hold their own but were continually pushing back the Musketeers, who were also running a good defensive game but struggled with the ball in their hands.
“We knew it was going to be a war,” said Russell Head Coach TJ, Maynard. “It always is.”
Thus, Russell trained for a battle but learned early on where the team may be lacking for future games in the season.
“They (Greenup) gave us opportunity after opportunity to put this thing away, and we just couldn’t follow through” Maynard stressed.
Maynard went on to express his pride in his team. The coach is starting four new offensive line and a new quarterback. He believes, hopefully, with experience, the team will be more prepared to run successful offensive plays later in the season, especially once they learn to capitalize on the arm of quarterback Austin Smith.
Entering the second quarter, neither team had scored when suddenly the lights went out on the visitors side of the field. The lights remained out for nearly half an hour.
Once the issues was corrected, announcer Danny Bentley jest by saying, “God said let there be light, and there was light, and it was good.”
Though the game resumed light heartedly, many feared that the break would cause one team to lose their footing, allowing another team to surpass to victory; however, that simply is not what happened. Both teams came back playing just as hard, going into halftime a 0-0 ball game.
The Musketeers finally lit up the scoreboard in the third quarter when Russell went to punt the ball on a down except the punter dropped his knee handing the ball to Greenup on the 14 yard line.
Caden Warnock was finally able to score with a 14 yard pass and 5:18 remaining in the third. The crowd went crazy over the first touchdown of the night by the home team, on a night when first downs were few and far between.
The celebration would end quickly once the ball was back in the hands of the devils.
Experiencing a bit a deja vu, the Musketeers punter nearly lost the ball after a bad snap and went down on the ball on the 7 yard line. Russell entered the beginning of the fourth quarter with only three yards to go, grasping for every inch of field they could take. But, Greenup pushed them back, driving them further and further away from the end zone.
With the ball back in the hands of Greenup, all the Musketeers needed to do was run the ball and run down the clock.
However, Greenup just was not up for the challenge. After losing the ball, Greenup was forced to hand the ball to the Red Devils. who scored on a 23 yard pass that was completed in the end zone.
The Red Devils also put the point after attempt through the uprights, picking up the one point advantage they needed over the Musketeers.
With 5:39 remaining on the clock both teams fought to see the scoreboard light up just one more time, but the defensive efforts of both ended the game with a 7-6 win for Russell.
Following the game, Musketeer Coach Scott Grizzle seemed to take the loss hard.
“Right now, I’m just disappointed, not in our kids or coaches, but in the outcome of the game,” the coach stated.“It hurts. I’m not going to lie. We just got to show up Monday, put our hard hats on and go back to work. We have to play the next play and move on. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Musketeers will host Fleming County Friday, September 2, 2016. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Reach Nikki at 740-353-3101, ext. 1924.