The Girard Trojans football team opened district play with a close victory over the Anderson County Bulldogs last night in Garnett.
After kicking off to open the game, Girard’s defense denied much progress up the field until Anderson County broke open an outside run.
The Trojans failed to execute and allowed the Bulldogs to score on the 65-yard run up the sideline to bring the score to 0-6 after a failed PAT field goal attempt.
On the Trojans’ first offensive drive, they had a short gain up the field to begin but allowed heavy penetration by the Bulldogs’ defense and were forced into a punting situation.
After allowing Anderson County to score on the third play of the game, Girard’s defense woke up and allowed minimal progression up the field on the Bulldogs’ next offensive drive.
However, the Trojans continued to lack focus on offense and could not find their way up the field in the first quarter.
Girard began to build offensive momentum on the first drive of the second quarter but was again forced into a punting situation.
On defense, the Trojans continued to battle and limit the Bulldogs’ movement on offense and forced them to punt on their first possession of the second quarter.
After regaining possession, the Trojans made nearly a five-minute offensive drive up the field but were unable to capitalize and turned over on downs with less than two minutes left in the first half.
Girard prevented the Bulldogs from scoring again in the first half and headed into the locker room still trailing by six points.
To open the second half, the Trojans received the ball but were unable to find their way up the field and had to punt less than two minutes into the third quarter.
The Trojans’ defense turned around and forced the Bulldogs to punt into the end zone for a touchback to take possession on their own 20-yard line.
Unfortunately, on the first play of their offensive drive the ball was snapped over quarterback Ty Norris’s head and he was tackled in the end zone after attempting to recover the ball.
This safety by Anderson County earned them two points to bring the score to 0-8.
Girard’s defense came out fired up and denied any more progress up the field by Anderson County for the remainder of the third quarter, but the Trojans’ offense was still searching for points on the scoreboard.
The Trojans finally found their way into the end zone with only five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
After a strong drive up the field, the Trojans’ quarterback Kyler Siebert found his way into the end zone on a keep play up the middle for one yard to bring the score to 6-8 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
The Trojans’ defense then battled to hold the Bulldogs and forced a turnover on downs, which was supplemented by a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct against Anderson County.
This placed the ball in the Trojans’ possession on the Bulldogs’ 22-yard line with two minutes and 33 seconds left to play.
With less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Siebert unleashed a 12-yard pass to receiver Gage Chiartano in the end zone to bring the score to 12-8.
After battling their way back into the game, the Trojans held Anderson County from scoring in the remaining seconds of the game to earn their first victory in district play with a final score of 12-8.
Girard moves on to battle the Burlington Wildcats at home in game two of districts Friday, Oct. 20.