By Cam Huffman
The only thing senior quarterback Isaiah Kinder didn’t do Friday night at Spartan Stadium was collect the tickets at the gate. Then again, he wasn’t asked.
The Greenbrier East signal caller threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 32 yards and, just for good measure, was crowned King of Sparta during the homecoming halftime festivities as the Spartans (4-3) rolled to a 59-13 win over visiting Lincoln County.
“(The homecoming recognition) was the icing on the cake,” said Kinder, who spent most of the second half on the bench and had already thrown for 278 yards by halftime. He completed 18 of 25 passes and threw just one interception, which actually tipped off of his receiver’s fingertips. “It was a nice surprise.”
The numbers on the field didn’t come as quite as much of a shock to one of the state’s best passers. During film study, Spartan head coach Ray Lee and his staff realized that the Panther corners didn’t play tight on opposing receivers, and they installed a game plan to exploit that fact.
“We were just running our short game and building up to the longer passing game,” said Kinder.
The plan worked to perfection.
Screens and sideline routes helped Kinder and his receivers build confidence, and it also set up the two most impressive plays of the opening half, a pair of Kinder 44-yard touchdown passes. The first was as much about the run as it was the pass, as Colby Johnson caught a laser at the 25-yard line and broke through several tackles on his way to the end zone. The second, which put the Spartans up 21-7 at the end of the first quarter, saw Kinder pump twice before lofting a perfect strike into the October sky that fell softly into the hands of Ty Walker in the end zone.
Kinder’s third and final touchdown pass went to senior Matt Beard, who hauled in the pigskin at the Panther 15-yard line and sprinted past the Lincoln County defenders into the end zone.
“Those are the pretty balls that look good,” said Kinder of the long touchdown strikes. “But we had some good catches on those, and it was much appreciated.”
Indeed, the Spartan receivers had nights to remember.
Walker caught nine passes for 152 yards to lead the way, while Beard caught four for 62 yards.
Then there was the running game. Dalton Cline opened the scoring for East with a 5-yard touchdown run, and he scored twice more before it was all over, finding pay dirt from 28 and 81 yards away in the second half. He finished with 159 yards on 18 carries and would have been well over 200 if not for some big runs that were called back on holding penalties.
Johnson opened the second-half scoring with a 50-yard touchdown run on the first offensive play of the third quarter, and Zayvion Lawson capped off the night with an 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter with a number of reserves in the game. He finished with 35 yards on just four carries.
“We played really well,” said Kinder of the offensive effort, which netted 624 yards and eight touchdowns. “We were executing pass plays, and the running game was there, also.”
Kicker Sean Myles did his job, as well, connecting on eight extra points and a 31-yard field goal just before halftime.
East also did a solid job defensively against Lincoln County’s tightly-packed wing-T attack. The visitors managed 238 yards rushing, but they threw for just 19 and put together only one solid drive. Behind 14-0 in the early going, the Panthers marched 44 yards on six plays and cut the lead in half when fullback Blake Taylor found the end zone from 7 yards out. Taylor finished with 67 yards on 11 carries but left the game in the second quarter with an injury.
Most of the other offense came from Chaz Wiley, who rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries. Lincoln County (0-6) didn’t find the end zone again, though, until Brandon Holley went 54 yards through the Spartans’ second-team defense in the fourth quarter.
Greenbrier East, which broke a two-game losing streak with the win, will end the season with three straight road games. That stretch will start next Friday at Logan. The Spartans then head to Parkersburg South and end the season at Oak Hill.
“I feel like we’re in a really good position,” said Kinder, who’s team has topped 50 points on three occasions this season. “We’re in control of what’s going to happen. If we win these next three, it will be a good spot for us. We’re playing with confidence. We’ve had some hard losses, but we’re getting back and should win out.”
Lincoln County, which has given up at least 42 points in every game it’s played this season, will end the season with four straight home games, beginning this Friday against Nicholas County.
— E-mail: chuffman@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.
LC 7 0 0 6 — 13
GE 21 10 14 14 — 59
GE: Dalton Cline 5 run (Sean Myles kick) 7:01
GE: Colby Johnson 44 pass from Isaiah Kinder (Myles kick) 4:07
LC: Blake Taylor 7 run (Jake Ashley kick) 2:23
GE: Ty Walker 44 pass from Kinder (Myles kick) 0:07
GE: Matt Beard 30 pass from Kinder (Myles kick) 2:48
GE: Myles 31 FG 0:02
GE: Colby Johnson 50 run (Myles kick) 11:37
GE: Cline 28 run (Myles kick) 3:16
GE: Dalton Cline 81 run (Myles kick) 7:14
LC: Brandon Holley 54 run (Ashley kick fails) 5:11
GE: Zayvion Lawson 11 run (Myles kick) 2:37
Rushing — LC: Chaz Wiley 18-70, Blake Taylor 11-67, Zach McGhee 6-20, Jake Ashley 9-minus 9, Andrew Davis 1-2, Austin Scraggs 8-20, Brandon Holley 4-68. GE: Isaiah Kinder 7-32, Dalton Cline 18-159, Roland Robinson 1-7, Colby Johnson 1-50, Ben Allen 1-3, Zayvion Lawson 4-35, Dylan Carter 2-21.
Passing —Grant Bates 2-3-0-16. Jake Ashley 1-3-0-3. GE: Isaiah Kinder 18-25-1-317.
Receiving —McGhee 1-7, Tanner Price 1-9, Wiley 1-3. GE: Ty Walker 9-152, Matt Beard 4-62, Colby Johnson 2-57, Dalton Cline 1-9, Roland Robinson 1-13, Ben Allen 1-24.
Takeaways — LC: Chaz Wiley (INT). GE: Michael Farley (FR)