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Highlanders christen stadium with 'W'

Floyd Central senior John Boyle (4) almost makes an interception as he breaks up this pass to Clarkville's Jered Loo in the first half.
August 26, 2009
Expectations were high as the Floyd Central Highlanders opened the gates to the new Ron Weigleb Stadium Friday night with their season-opener against visiting Clarksville. The Highlanders didn't let anybody down either, giving their new facility a good christening with a 49-13 win over the Generals.

"I think it's very good," Floyd Central coach Brian Glesing said. "We're a 5A school and they're a 2A school. That's what should happen. We've got a lot of kids to choose from, and it's a good start for us.

"We got everybody to play. We can evaluate our second team a little bit and see if they can push those starters. We've got to make some adjustments, but it's good to come out and get a win. In the fourth quarter, we're not worrying about winning or losing a game and getting our younger kids in there."

With emotions running high, the Highlanders began the night a little out of sorts with two fumbles in the first quarter, the second leading to a Clarksville touchdown when Drew Farney ran into the end zone from 11 yards.

"We were a little sluggish coming out of the gate," Glesing said. "Two turnovers right off the bat. We're not going to be able to do those things (this) week to beat Providence. We've got to get a lot better. We've got to tune some things up. We've got to evaluate the film and see what we need to adjust and go from there."

The Highlanders, however, kept their cool and responded with 2:34 left in the first period. Floyd Central used six plays, capped by Daniel Deere's 34-yard run, to move 67 yards to tie the game. It didn't end there as the Highlanders came back again with 20.3 seconds to go, with Max Guenther throwing a 34-yard pass to Matt Lowe to give Floyd Central a 14-7 lead after one quarter.

"We struggled there early, but we're a little deeper than they are," Glesing said. "They had their two best players out, so that didn't help matters out for them. They're going to be a good team once they get (Thomas) Threatt back and (Nathan) Masters. They will have some great weapons for them in the next week and the week after when they get those guys back."

Floyd Central scored twice in the second quarter, as Guenther threw to Jeffery Thompson from four yards and then again to Aaron Sparks from 10 yards.

Deere kept the Generals from scoring with an interception on the final play of the half, and Floyd Central took a 28-7 lead to the locker room.

If the Generals had any hopes of getting back into the game in the second half, they were quickly put aside when Floyd Central senior Josh Spalding stripped the ball from Clarksville's Isiah Masters down the right side. Deere scooped up the ball and came out of nowhere to run 38 yards into the end zone.

"They were driving on us," Glesing said. "They had driven there at the end of the first half, and they were knocking on our door, but turnovers make a big deal and that was a big play for us to put them away. That kind of sealed them a little bit with a cushion."

The Highlanders scored twice more in the period, first on a one-yard run by Sparks and then when Deere raced into the end zone from 30 yards.

With both teams playing their respective benches through most of the fourth period, the Generals managed a late score from Farney, but the Highlanders celebrated the 49-13 win.

"I was really happy with our defense," the Floyd Central coach said. "Our defense played a lot better than they did last year. Last year, we gave up 37 points to these guys. This year, our (defense) gave up seven, so that's pretty good. We're making big strides defensively."

The Highlanders finished the game with 318 yards of offense, with 212 coming on the ground on 28 carries and 106 coming in the air as Guenther went 6 for 11 passing with three TDs. Deere also had three touchdowns.

Glesing gave credit to seniors Guenther and Sparks for their leadership.

"They're solid," he said. "They're veteran football players. They're three-year starters. They're team leaders. They did a great job. Max ran our offense very well. They got some great throws. We don't throw them much, but he had three touchdown passes. That's good for us."

"We've got some great running backs," Glesing said. "We've got Sparks and Deere and we've got a sophomore named (Kyle) Bramble who's pushing those guys real fast. It's real good. We've got some depth at running back and that's exciting."

Clarksville tallied 199 yards on offense. The Generals carried 44 times for 133 yards rushing and completed 7 of 19 passes for 66 yards with one interception.

Both teams totaled 12 first downs.

"It was a dominating win, but we made some mistakes and they know that," Glesing said. "That first quarter, Clarksville dominated. They won the first quarter, so we're going to learn our lesson from that. We're a power-running football team. That's what we do. We grinded it out. We don't panic when we get behind."

Floyd Central High School will officially dedicate the new Ron Weigleb Stadium Friday night before the Highlanders' game against Providence. School officials expect a standing-room-only crowd.

Click for photo gallery

Clarksville 7 0 0 6 - 13

Floyd Central 14 14 21 0 - 49

Clarksville - Farney, 11-yd fumble return (Montgomery kick); Floyd Central - Deere, 34-yd run (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Guenther to Lowe, 34-yd pass (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Guenther to Thompson, 4-yd pass (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Guenther to Sparks, 10-yd pass (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Deere, 38-yd fumble return (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Sparks, 1-yd run (Lowe kick); Floyd Central - Deere, 30-yd run (Lowe kick); Clarksville - Farney, 11-yd run (conversion fails)

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