Crittenden County completed its mission with military-like precision, dispatching Massac County, Ill., in the first ever Kentucky National Guard Warrior Bowl Saturday at Rocket Stadium.
The Rockets' methodical ground game chewed up nearly the whole first period before they scored on a two-yard run by Brian Berry and J.R. Adams kicked the point after.
The Patriots turned the ball over on downs a series later after Andrew Freeman broke up a punt attempt, giving Crittenden the ball on the Massac 35. Berry again scored two plays later on a 35-yard run.
The visiting Patriots pulled to within a touchdown on a passing play late in the second period, but the Rockets came roaring back. Quarterback and Warrior Bowl MVP J.D. Gray led a short drive, scoring from 20 yards out to give his team a 21-7 edge at the break.
Berry rushed for a game-high 133 yards to lead the Rockets and Gray ran for 76 and threw for 31, completing half of his six passes. Gray was also the game's Offensive MVP and teammate Dylan Clark was the defensive MVP.
The Rocket defense was relentless early, throwing the Patriots for negative yardage on 11 plays and holding Massac to only 22 total yards in the first half.
Massac turned to speedy tailback Jordan Jackson to change the tempo of the game in the second half, but it was too late. Although Jackson rushed for 113 yards in the final two periods, Crittenden's defense prevented further scoring.
Two first half Rocket fumbles – one in the red zone – allowed the Patriots to stay within striking distance until Freeman capped the scoring in the third period on a one-yard run. That touchdown, which put the Rockets ahead by 20, was set up by a fumble recovery and 40-yard return by defensive back Tanner Nix.
Crittenden's smash-mouth ground game kept Massac on defense most of the contest. The Patriots had just three possessions in the final two quarters. They fumbled once and were stopped on downs another time. Crittenden did not punt a single time during the matchup.
Terry Werne intercepted a Patriot pass in the first half and the Rocket secondary held the Patriots in check much of the game with help from steady pressure up the middle.
Pictured above is Brian Berry rushing for part of his game-high 133 yards. At top, is Dylan Clark (6) who just missed catching a first-half pass.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Massac County 0 7 0 0
Crittenden County 7 14 7 0
CC-Brian Berry 2 run (J.R. Adams kick) 1:44,1st
CC-Berry 35 run (Adams kick) 8:55, 2nd
MC-Brandon Pender 28 pass from Caleb Crim (Crim kick) :55, 2nd
CC-J.D. Gray 20 run (Adams kick) :18, 2nd
CC-Andrew Freeman 1 run (kick failed) 3:48, 3rd
First Downs: Crittenden 15, Massac 12
Penalties: Crittenden 4-30, Massac 5-45
Rushing: Crittenden 46-256
Passing: Crittenden 4-7-0, 29 yds.; Massac 8-12-1, 91 yds.
Total: Crittenden 285, Massac 231
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 3-2, Massac 3-1
Rushing: Crittenden-Berry 19-133, Gray 13-76, Freeman 13-46, Nix 1-1. Massac: Jordan Jackson 12-113, Jarelle Johnson 4-11, Crim 10-11, Daniel Duncan 7-6, James Cannamore 1-3, Logan Wheeler 1-(-4).
Passing: Crittenden-Gray 3-6-0, 31 yds., Berry 1-1-0, (-2 yds.). Massac-Crim 4-4-0, 49 yds., Duncan 3-4-0, 48 yds., Wheeler 1-4-1, (-6 yds.).
Receiving: Crittenden-Nix 2-15, Berry 1-16, Gray 1-(-2).
Defense: A.Berry 6 solos, 4 assists, 2 TFL, 2 sacks; B.Berry 3 solos, 4 assists, caused fumble; Clark 7 solos, 3 assists, 4 TFL, caused fumble; Collins 2 solos, 3 assists, sack; Collins 2 solos, 3 assists, sack; Cudnik solo, 2 assists; Cozart assist; Fletcher 5 solos, 7 assists, TFL; Freeman 2 solos, 4 assists; TFL; Gray 6 solos, 2 assists, TFL; Kirk 3 solos, TFL; Lee solo, assist; Long solo, 2 assists; Nix 3 solos, 2 assists, fumble recovery; Price assist; Thornton 4 solos, 5 assists, TFL; B.Wallace assist; Werne solo, 4 assists, blocked punt, interception; Willis 2 assists.
Pizza Hut Players of the Game: Offense: Brian Berry. Defense: Dylan Clark. Lineman: Aaron Berry (as chosen by coaching staff).
Records: Crittenden 1-0, Massac 0-1.