Glasgow uses quick-strike attack to roll past Greenwood 37-16

Glasgow coach Jeff Garmon addresses his team after the Scotties’ impessive 37-16 victory over Greenwood.

Greenwood High School’s Lofton Howard was one of the last players to file into the locker room.

The Glasgow Scotties dismantled the previously unbeaten Gators on Friday night at The Swamp, rolling to a 37-16 victory to put a damper on Greenwood’s homecoming celebration.

Well, maybe more than a damper.

The Gators, without senior quarterback James Salchli due to the KHSAA COVID-19 protocol, turned to Howard to run the offense against a Glasgow defense that pretty much dared Greenwood to throw the ball.

Howard seldom left the field on Friday night, even serving as the Gators’ long snapper for a handful of plays. He also delivered an onside kick that Greenwood recovered when the Gators still had an outside shot to make the game competitive.

Glasgow controlled the line of scrimmage and rolled to a 37-16 victory over Greenwood on Friday night.

The Scotties, now 5-1 on the season, had other ideas.

“It’s always tough, to lose someone like James, and not until (Thursday afternoon), too,” Howard said. “We really had to change things, offensively, at the last minute. We found out (linebacker) Gray Price wasn’t going to play with an injury, too … We always say, ‘Next guy up,’ but we didn’t play very well tonight.

“I wouldn’t say we relaxed, going into the game, but we definitely didn’t play up to our ability.”

Greenwood coach William Howard, Lofton’s father and a fiery figure on the Gators’ sideline, had an animated conversation with veteran Glasgow coach Jeff Garmon during the handshake line. The Scotties’ players mocked Greenwood’s “Gator Chomp,” popularized by Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators back in the ’90s, and players from both sides admitted there was some bad blood between the teams.

William Howard admitted the Gators would have to emphasize the running game more than they did in winning their first five games, but he was quick to give Glasgow credit for a dominant performance few could have anticipated beforehand.

Greenwood (5-1) fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, and Glasgow’s prowess in the kicking game helped keep the Gators at arm’s length the rest of the way.

“We felt like we were going to have to lean on the running game a little heavier than we’d planned during the week,” William Howard said. “We made a lot of mental errors, we had a lot of dropped passes. Penalties … Defensively, we had some confusion in the secondary. Not so much in the passing game, but in our run support.”

Glasgow’s quick-strike ability seemed to take the Gators’ defense out of its comfort zone.

Greenwood’s Jaylen Brock scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:11 left in the third quarter, giving the Gators a chance to make a game of it. That made it 21-8, and Lofton Howard’s onside kick was recovered by Greenwood. The Gators quickly reached the red zone but Glasgow’s defense was equal to the task, forcing Greenwood to turn the ball over on downs at the Scotties’ 5-yard line.

That’s when Glasgow’s JaMarion Long made the play of the game.

Scotties quarterback John Carter Myers, operating the Glasgow wing-T attack nearly flawlessly, slipped the ball to Long on a misdirection play that left the Gators flat-footed and out of position. Long, who doubles as a track and field standout at Glasgow, quickly found the left sideline and never looked back, scoring on a sensational 95-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to three touchdowns.

“We’ve just got to come back, Monday afternoon, with a clean mindset,” Lofton Howard said. “Next week, everybody starts over.”

Say good night, Gators.

“Coach (Garmon) told us we were going to score on that play some time this year,” Long said with a smile. “Yeah, it’s the longest run of my career … We all believed we could win tonight. We came out and got the job done.”

Myers also burned the Gators on a fake punt play, while passing the ball sparingly but effectively.

Greenwood just couldn’t respond when it counted.

“I think we played pretty decent in the second half, but we weren’t into it, mentally,” Greenwood offensive tackle Zach Simpson said. “In the first half, they came out and punched us in the mouth.”

Simpson wasn’t speaking literally, of course, but Lofton Howard acknowledged the Gators probably need a weekend away from the football field to soothe their wounded psyche. William Howard gives his players the weekend off before they review the game film and hit the practice field on Monday.

The Gators will open KHSAA district play on Friday night against Christian County, also at The Swamp, while Glasgow will travel to play Adair County.