RUSSELL, Ky. — The rivalry known as “the backyard brawl” is an accurate description to describe the physical affair between the Greenup County Musketeers and the Russell Red Devils.
Looking for its first win in the series since 2002 and first win at Henry R. Evans Stadium in program history, Greenup County fell to Russell 19-13 after leading for three and a half quarters Saturday night.
Musketeers head coach Chris Mullins displayed his appreciation for his team’s work ethic, spending a few moments after the game thanking each individual senior for their contributions over the last four years.
“I asked them to give me the game of their life, physically and mentally, and they did … ,” Mullins said. “It was a fantastic game from us. (The kids) killed themselves for this program and I really wished we would’ve come out with the victory …
“That was a fantastic football game and I think that is the greatest effort from the Greenup County Musketeers since I’ve been here.”
Leading 7-6 midway through the fourth quarter, Greenup County (1-0) took a chance and blitzed a Red Devil offense that was beginning to move the ball. However, the risk didn’t pay off. Russell (1-0) running back Nick Conley took the handoff, found his way to the outside and raced down the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown.
Conley finished with a 146 yards on 14 attempts and the lone score.
“That was an unbelievable run by him,” Mullins said. “I blitzed both of my linebackers. We gambled and rolled the dice. We didn’t have any pursuit, so if he got through the line, it was going to be a big play. That right there is one of those gambles you take as a coach to plug some gaps and he squeezed through, and he had a lot of speed right there. It was a nice play.
“He’s a great player,” Mullins said. “High school football around here is full of great players and that was a great player making a great play at the end of the day.”
The Musketeers only scored 13 points, seven of which came in a first half where they dictated the play and dominated the time of possession. However, Mullins does’t believe his team failed to capitalize on its advantage during the first 24 minutes. Mullins acknowledged that the Russell coaching staff just seemed to come up with the right answers at the right time.
“Some of our missed opportunities are due to them having good coaches and making good adjustments,” Mullins said. “It’s not always about mistakes from us as much as it is about other people making plays. They made plays. We made plays. And we never quit … That’s the MO of this team and if they keep it up, we are going to be a tough team to deal with the rest of the year.”
Despite suffering the loss, the Musketeers got a terrific contribution from senior quarterback Jared Hunt who completed 12-of-25 passes for 132 yards and two scores.
The Musketeers will attempt to pick up their second win of the season when Greenup County visits Fleming County.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.
Greenup — Bird 13 yd pass from Hunt (Coldiron kick), 6:16
Russell — Cole 15 yard pass from McKee (PAT missed), :51.6
Russell — Conley 54 yd run (failed conversion ), 7:26
Russell — McKee 1 yd run (Miller kick), 1:01
Greenup — Greene 15 yd pass from Hunt (PAT missed), :21.7
Rushing — Greenup: Bird 13-63, 1-28, Hunt 8-26, Wright 7-15, Warnock 1-0; Russell: Conley 14-146, McKee 15-37, Blackbum 5-22, Ison 4-9, Cole 4-5.
Passing — Greenup: Hunt 12-25-132; Russell: McKee 9-12-86, Conley 0-1.
Receiving — Greenup: Bird 2-34, Mauk 1-25, Clarke 1-24, Wright 4-21, Greene 1-7, Warnock 2-6; Russell: Howard 1-25, Martin 3-23, Brewer 2-19, Cole 1-15, Conley 2-4.
Greenup Co. 1-1; Russell 1-0.