LaGRANGE — Keystone senior tailback Greg Howard took a handoff and ran for 16 yards on the first play from scrimmage.
That play served as a precursor for what he and his Wildcats had in store for Brookside on Friday night.
Howard scored the Wildcats’ first two touchdowns — the second on an 80-yard run — and, despite only carrying the ball three times in the second half, finished with 206 yards on 16 carries.
His play helped Keystone compile 400 yards of total offense despite missing starting quarterback Marcus Gunter with a sprained ankle, and led the Wildcats to a 34-8 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division Homecoming win over the visiting Cardinals.
“Greg’s a tremendous athlete and the line did a tremendous job of blocking on counters for him in that first half,” Keystone coach Rob Clarico said. “He just followed (tackle) Chase Robison a lot on our 46 Counter. He picked up most of his yards on that play.”
Howard carried the ball all but once in Keystone’s opening six-play, 64-yard scoring drive and punched it in from 12 yards out to give the Wildcats (3-3, 2-1 PAC) a 7-0 lead.
“Our coach always talks about getting off to a good start and show them what we’re here for, and that’s what we were able to do,” said Howard, who finished with 192 yards on 13 carries in the first half. “All night, our offense kept pushing them and opening those holes, and I just kept running.”
The biggest play came early in the second quarter with Keystone still nursing that 7-0 lead. Following a false start penalty that pushed the Wildcats back to their 20, Howard took a handoff, found a crease in the line and sprinted 80 yards untouched.
Brookside (0-6, 0-3), buoyed by a 67-yard run by Chad Metcalf, finally got on the board in the fourth quarter on Jake Morgan’s 17-yard touchdown run.
“It’s been awhile since we haven’t played well, and we have played well these last couple of weeks,” Brookside coach Thom Lesiecki said. “I don’t know what it was tonight. We just didn’t do anything right. We didn’t get off the ball offensively. Defensively, they found seams and we didn’t tackle at all. It was just not a good night for us.”
STINER-LINE: Keystone junior Kendle Stiner ripped the ball away from Morgan late in the second quarter and ran 20 yards for a touchdown to give Keystone a 21-0 halftime lead. This was the second straight week that Keystone has scored a defensive touchdown, and, in all three of their victories, the Wildcats have gotten a defensive score.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135