BY WAYNE PHILLIPS
SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
The milk can will stay on the west end of the county for the fourth straight year.
West Greene churned out a dominating 562 yds. of offense Friday night and blanked visiting South Greene 34-0 at Jim Sauceman Field in the annual battle for the milk can, a source of pride for both communities for many, many years.
Buffs sophomore back Jonathan Padgett turned in a rushing effort of 211 yds. to pace a West Greene running attack that was just too much for the young and banged-up Rebels to contend with. On the night the Buffs rushed for 415 yds. and added 147 more through the air for their 562 total.
Five different players scored for West Greene (4-5, 2-3), and they pitched the shutout at their cross-county rivals by holding the Rebs (1-7, 0-4) to only 7 yds. rushing on the night and 82 total yards for the ball game.
"We're happy we get to keep the can," West Greene Coach Joe Case said as his players hoisted the can, a replica of the type of large metal container that farmers throughout the county once used to hold the milk that they sent off to market, and headed off to the locker room with it in tow. "We didn't play all that well ... too many penalties and mistakes. But defensively we got after them pretty good. We kept some drives alive for them with our penalties, but I'm proud of the kids."
Penalties were the only thing that marred an otherwise stellar performance for the home team. For the game West Greene was flagged 16 times for 162 yds.
"That's something we've got to address this week in practice," Case said. "We make those kind of mistakes against Chuckey-Doak and it will be a long night."
Padgett became the workhorse on the night after Nathan Morgan sustained a minor hip injury in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the contest.
"Padgett ran hard," Case said, "and we kept giving it to him. I don't think Morgan's hip is that bad, but we wanted to save him if we could."
Freshman Justin Casteel played quarterback the majority of the game for the injury-riddled Rebels, and he completed seven passes, including a 14-yarder to Preston Shuffler on the team's opening possession of the game. But West Greene picked him off three times and the Rebels were unable to move to the red zone in the game.
The first pick was by Chase Lawson which halted the Rebs' first drive of the game. The Buffs turned that interception into points, driving 66 yds. in 11 plays. Austin Greenlee connected with Caleb Julian on a 28-yd. strike and Morgan peeled off a run of 19. Bayless Kinser scored on a 5-yd. run with 3:43 left in the first and Brock Shelton kicked the PAT.
West Greene made one turnover on the night as Padgett lost the handle on the ball at the Reb 40 and freshman Wyatt Cole made the recovery. But three plays wouldn't pick up a first down and South Greene punted it away with the ball rolling dead at the 5 yd. line after a nice 44-yd. punt by Lucas Riddle, another freshman.
The Buffs then went 95 yds. in 10 plays to score on a 1-yd. plunge by Josh Thacker with 9:20 left in the second. Padgett carried the ball six straight times in the drive and picked up 67 yds. rushing.
South Greene got in trouble with a sack that pushed them back on their next drive, and an 18-yd. pass from Casteel to Matt Nicademus wouldn't pick up the first down. West Greene took over at midfield and drove for a quick score.
Greenlee found senior Caleb Julian on a 39-yd. touchdown pass for the score. The PAT was blocked but West Greene led 20-0, and that would be all the scoring in the first half.
The Buffs got two third quarter scores and controlled the football most of the period. Their first drive took up four minutes of the clock and covered 13 plays but two major penalties stopped the drive.
They finally scored on a 5-yd. run by freshman Dakota Trentham with Shelton kicking the point for a 27-0 lead. Then after Caleb Julian picked off a pass at the Reb 26, the Buffs scored on a 38-yd. run by Padgett, with Shelton again making the kick for the 34-0 advantage.
West Greene threatened two more times in the final period but South Greene held their ground. Shelton missed a 27-yd. field goal early in the period after a drive fizzled at the 10-yd. line.
South Greene drove across midfield, thanks to a 14-yd. run by Tim Lightfoot, but a Cameron Key interception stopped the effort.
West Greene kept the ball the final seven minutes of the game, driving down to the 1-yd. line as the final second ticked off the clock.
Trentham finished with 79 yds. on the ground for West Greene. Greenlee hit 5-of-9 passes for 85 yds. before turning things over to back-up Dylan Kirk.
West Greene plays at Chuckey-Doak next Friday and South Greene goes to Claiborne.
*Track athletes at West Greene were honored Friday night for their performance in the TSSAA State Meet in the spring, and long-time Sun Sports Editor Wayne Phillips was presented a football by the West Greene coaching staff for his coverage of Greene County sports over the past four decades. Photos of those presentations will appear in next week's issues.