By Matt Sparks
Sept. 25, 2013 —
Ryan Byrd’s rushing performance left Musketeer fans breathless on Friday night at Greenup County High School.
It also left himself gasping for breath as the sophomore sprinted on long touchdown runs of 84, 57, 40 and 33 yards.
Byrd rushed for a career-high 447 yards as Greenup County ran past West Carter 60-35.
"He played phenomenal," Greenup County coach Chris Mullins said. "He has great field vision. Our offensive line did a great job. We were down to our third string center and tackle. They did a great job of stepping up."
West Carter coach Kevin Brown was equally impressed.
“He is a great running back,” Brown said. “He was running hard all the way to the end and hats off to him.
"Give credit to coach Mullins and Greenup," he continued. "They did a great job and executed their game plan."
West Carter (2-2) took advantage of several Muskeeteer miscues on special teams in the opening half.
With the score tied at 14, Dallen Dean ran back the kickoff untouched for an 82-yard touchdown for the Comets.
Greenup County was forced to punt on its next possession but mishandled the snap and West Carter recovered.
Seven plays later, quarterback Braden Brown outran the Musketeers to the corner of the end zone for a 3-yard score to give the Comets a 29-14 halftime lead.
Mullins was proud of the way his young team handled the adversity and just kept fighting.
"Our defense really hung in there," Mullins said. "They were getting a little down so we made some adjustments at halftime. They really bought in."
For all the momentum that West Carter gained at the end of the first half, it quickly disappeared after halftime.
On Greenup County’s first play of the second half, Byrd raced down the sideline for a 57-yard touchdown.
The play was even more tragic for the Comets because Braden Brown turned an ankle trying to chase down the Musketeers’ speedy running back. He had to sit for the remainder of the game.
Brown finished with 122 yards on eight carries, all coming in the first half.
"He is our leader on offense even though he is just a sophomore," Brown said. "It kind of limited us offensively when that happened."
When Byrd needed a breather, teammate Kenton Boggs more than picked up the slack. He had 67 second-half rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Mullins knows a win like this would give everyone involved a much-needed lift.
"You can't talk enough what that means to the fans and players,” he said. “Everyone is hungry for this program to get turned around."