BEEBE -- Greenbrier running back Peyton Long almost took down Beebe by himself Friday, but the senior got a boost from his defense anyway to finish off the job.
The Panthers outscored the Badgers 23-0 in the second half to pull away for a 33-14 victory and win the Battle of the Belt at Bro Erwin Stadium.
"The defense played lights out after halftime," Greenbrier Coach Randy Tribble said. "We just had to settle down. [Beebe] does a lot of moving around with their formations and made it tough on us.
"But we eventually settled in. The defense kept giving us great field position in the second half, and that allowed our offense to finally get going."
Long supplied all the offense Greenbrier needed in knocking off its rival. He carried the ball 17 times for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 69-yard score on the game's first play, to help spoil Chris Gunter's head-coaching debut.
Senior quarterback Jackson Riddle completed 10 of 25 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers.
The Greenbrier defense gave up 320 yards but didn't allow much over the final two quarters until it had the game well in hand. The Panthers also came away with two interceptions in the second half.
Senior quarterback Cade Longing was 11-of-17 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 16 times for 53 yards and a score for Beebe, which couldn't build on its 14-10 halftime lead.
"Offensively, we just kept our defense out on the field way too long in the second half," said Gunter, who graduated from Beebe in 2003 and spent the previous seven seasons as Alma's offensive coordinator before being hired by his alma mater in January. "I thought our defense stood up well, but we just got tired. They battled and kind of had [Greenbrier] on the ropes there a little bit.
"I think we shocked some people, but it was [a] tale of two halves, and we just couldn't get it done when we needed to."
Greenbrier surprised Beebe at the start when Long sprinted untouched for a touchdown on the opening snap. Cody Powell's extra point gave the Panthers a quick 7-0 lead.
The Badgers responded to tie the game at 7-7 on Longing's 1-yard plunge with 2:13 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers recaptured the lead with 7:08 to go in the second quarter when Powell finished off a 10-play, 55-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal, but the Badgers had an answer on their following trip.
Beebe needed just five plays to cover 78 yards, with the final 37 coming on Longing's touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Mikey Russell at the 5:06 mark, to build its four-point halftime lead.
The Badgers, however, wouldn't score again.
Riddle tossed a 36-yard touchdown to senior wide receiver Logan King with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter to hand the Panthers a 16-14 cushion. Powell tacked on a 34-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter before Long scored on 50- and 17-yard runs on back-to-back possessions to bust the game open.
"The offensive line played really well," Tribble said. "We had to do something with the way we were playing early. But we finally picked it up and got the win. It's always good to start out 1-0."
Sports on 08/31/2019