Ray Brooks’ Lions showed some Friday night fight.
An actual fight — one that resulted in five ejections — was only a fraction of a whirlwind of an evening for Boyd County and its first-year coach.
Boyd County forced five turnovers and used a trio of long scoring plays en route to a 22-0 blanking of Shelby Valley at Tom Scott Field on Friday. It marked the program’s 300th overall victory on a night when the 1962 team, which was the first after 11 years without a team, celebrated its 50-year anniversary by being recognized at halftime.
A lively crowd filled the home bleachers, but there was one special spectator in attendance for the beginning of the Brooks era: his mother, Jenny.
“I’ve been coaching for 15, 20 years,” Brooks said. “This is the first game my mom ever came to with me being a coach. By 7:15 (15 minutes before kickoff), I started getting some butterflies.”
Some of the Huntington High football staff was also present in support of the former defensive coordinator.
Such an eventful opening night may cause a major case of first-game jitters, or so Brooks hopes, he said.
Boyd County (1-0) committed a game-prolonging 15 penalties, while Shelby Valley tallied 13 of its own.
Seeing red, seeing yellow; that was the theme of the third quarter.
That’s when a skirmish at the line of scrimmage turned into a melee. The brawl got ugly, as punches were thrown by both sides and coaches rushed to the scene. They struggled at first but eventually halted the altercation.
Officials took several minutes to sort out the mess, as two Shelby Valley players got tossed and three Lions — Cain Cooksey, Brandon Bryant and Justin Holcomb — were ejected. They will be forced to sit next week’s home game against Morgan County.
“We’ve got to have discipline to be aggressive, be intense, but don’t let your emotions get the better of you,” Brooks said. “At that time, we’re up 14-0, and we’re getting seniors ejected from the game. You’ve got to step up and be above that.”
Even after tempers cooled, the flags kept flying. All told, the third period saw a staggering total of 15 penalties.
By then, Boyd County had a firm grip on the scoreboard, though, and the Lions stayed in control for their second win over Shelby Valley in as many seasons.
Dylan Harris, a senior in a new role from last season, excelled in most facets of his game. He scored once, led the blocking for another TD, came up with key defensive plays and punted for an average of 38 yards.
He said he was pushed during the brawl, but no way was he going to retaliate.
“I did not want to go out of that game,” Harris said.
Boyd County didn’t want him out, either.
Harris took a weak-side sweep in the first quarter 49 yards to paydirt, looking quite comfortable as a running back after being named an All-Area receiver a year ago.
“At first, I told coach ‘I want to play wideout, I want to play wideout,’” Harris remembered. “But now I’m a blocking back and I love it.”
Harris blocked superbly for Jacob Barnwell as the sophomore scampered 65 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. Cody Tackett tacked on a two-point conversion to make it 22-0. Barnwell led all Boyd County rushers with 92 yards.
“I just tell them to follow my butt and I’ll lead them all the way,” Harris said.
Sandwiched in between the running scores was a passing play that even caught Brooks by surprise. Billy McCoy hooked up with Bryant for a 45-yard TD in the second quarter.
“We’ve run that play in practice a lot, and we’ve never completed it to the tight end in practice,” Brooks said.
McCoy left the game with a high ankle sprain before halftime, but he should return next week, according to the Lions’ coach. Cade Isaacs and then Reid Dearfield took over at QB.
Shelby Valley (0-1) fumbled twice, turned it over on downs and was picked off twice by Jason Smith.
“We played hard. Boyd County’s dressing 78 kids, we’ve got 28, but we stood toe to toe with them for 48 minutes,” said Wildcats coach Aaron Stepp.
For the Lions, the first 48 ended with them hitting a milestone — 300 in all, and No. 1 for Brooks.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Ray Brooks’ Lions showed some Friday night fight.
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