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Sports News

Grand Lake rolls to win

By Zach Schwartzenburg

American Press

A tough defense and a versatile offense helped Grand Lake seal a 46-20 win in its District 4-1A opener against Merryville.

The Hornets (4-0, 1-0) came out strong, scoring within the first three plays on a Will Kelley 68-yard run.

The Grand Lake defense also dominated early, keeping the Panthers (1-3, 0-1) scoreless in the first quarter and forcing two interceptions.

On Grand Lake’s second scoring drive, Luke McCardle had two crucial catches from Brayden Richard for 33 and a 50-yard touchdown. Kelley scored again from 46 yards out to put the Hornets up 21-0.

Merryville started to find more opportunities in the second quarter, using running backs Cam’ron Williams and Julian Hamilton to pound their way down the field. Williams and Hamilton combined for 198 rushing yards.

Quarterback Blaise Duncan scored first for Merryville on a 4-yard run. On its next possession, Hamilton finished it off with a 49 yard touchdown, closing the gap to 21-14.

Merryville’s last drive of the half was cut short by a blocked punt returned by lineman Zach Johnson to the red zone. With 22 seconds left in the half, Grand Lake’s Richard threw to Kyler Little for a 25 yard touchdown, extending the lead 27-14 going into halftime.

Grand Lake scored again on its opening drive of the half. Handing the ball to Logun Granger for six consecutive touches, he found his way to the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown.

Merryville came out fast in the second half but each of its drives were shut down by the Hornets. The Panthers spread the ball to Williams and Hamilton multiple times but the Grand Lake defensive front held it back and forced multiple turnovers. Before Merryville, Grand Lake had allowed 23 points and shut out Highland Baptist last week.

Head coach Jeff Wainwright said Grand Lake was prepared for the strong Panthers running game.

“We knew going in they had very good blocking schemes and their running backs are very tough,” he said. “They’ve been getting better with each game.”

Aaron Young had a 1-yard rushing touchdown and Kelley had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second half.

“Our team had a gutty performance, we threw the ball well, ran the ball well, defense played well, and even special teams played great with the blocked punt,” Wainwright said. “We put a lot of things together to compete with a great football club.”

Merryville scored on its last drive on a 1-yard sneak by Duncan, set up by a long pass to Ross Cournoyer.

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