FLEMINGSBURG -- Traditionally, a four seed is expected to roll over to the top seeds in the first round of the playoffs.
But someone forgot to tell that to Garrard County.
The Golden Lions rolled into Fleming County and rushed past the top-seeded Panthers, 20-14.
Garrard County rode their senior tailback Josh Warren for the win. Warren carried the ball 49 times for 203 yards. Warren’s 49 carries nearly totaled Fleming County’s 41 plays.
Warren put his stamp on the game early, scoring on a 69-yard run on the second play of the game, giving the Golden Lions an 8-0 lead.
“It was a big advantage for us to get the ball first, before the field got messed up,” said Garrard coach Jerry Perry. “Once we went ahead, I hoped that those eight points would stand.”
It looked like the 8-0 lead could stand. It did hold up for the first half as neither team would get close to scoring. Garrard County held Fleming County to 50 yards in the first half. The Panthers finished the game with 209 total yards.
The Golden Lions pushed the lead to 14-, with 4:23 to play in the third quarter as David Pennington ran for a 40-yard score, capping off a 13-play, 96-yard drive.
But the Panthers didn’t lay down.
Fleming County scored twice in the final three minutes of the third quarter, tying the game, 14-all. The Panthers first scored as Josh Hamm broke free for a 24-yard run with 2:31 to play in the third. Hamm stepped up at running back after Nick Clark was injured on the opening kick of the second half. Hamm filled in nicely, carrying the ball six times for 71-yards and a score. Hamm was injured late in the game.
“When Nick (Clark) went down, we needed someone to step up,” Fleming Coach Bill Spencer said. “Josh (Hamm) took advantage of the opportunity. One thing about Josh, he will always give his all and he helped get us back in the ballgame.”
Fleming County tied the game on the final play of the quarter as Josh Crump tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cole Saunders. Crump finished the game with 167 yards through the air, completing 16-of-33 pass attempts. Crump was picked off twice in the game.
Garrard County took the lead for good with 6:43 to play in the game.
Backed up with a third-and-28, Connor Isaccs threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Justus, giving the Golden Lions a 20-14 lead. Justus also converted a fake punt on the drive.
“We knew they were going to throw it and we knew they were going to throw it to,” Spencer said. “I don’t know how he ended up so open.”
Fleming County had two opportunities to tie the game and possibly take the lead. Fleming County marched down the field to the three-yard line. On fourth-and-three with 3:22 to play, Crump was flushed out of the pocket and tossed a pass which was dropped in the end zone.
The Panthers got the ball back with 1:32 to play but Crump was picked off on the opening play of the series.
Fleming County ends its season with an 8-3 record. The Panthers lose a large number of seniors, which Spencer knows can’t be replaced.
“Those guys have done more for this program than anyone could imagine,” Spencer said. “These guys will be remembered for success, district titles, beating Russell twice, winning a playoff game. They did so many things, no one knows how much heart these kids have. I love them. This isn’t a team that deserves to have their season end this early. Garrard County played great and they deserve to win, but it hurts.”
The Golden Lions snapped a five-game skid with the win and will travel to Lexington Catholic this Friday.