All summer as controversy swirled around the Conway football program, Carlton Terry and the Tiger coaching staff did what they could to shield their players from the noise surrounding them.
On Terry’s first night as Conway head man, his players repaid the debt.
Able to hit big plays in the passing game, the Tigers jumped out to a 26-point halftime lead, cruising to a 40-8 win over Georgetown in their season opener.
“Of course, I had jitters,” Terry said. “It is my first time as head coach, and I was very excited but a little nervous. … Our coaches did a good job of preparing them, and the kids did a good job executing the plan.”
In his first varsity start, quarterback Darren Grainger proved he was up to the task, completing 11 of 18 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He hit six different receivers, led by Pooh Brantley, who had two catches for 87 yards.
Running back Antonio Long also had a solid game, rushing for 89 yards on 13 carries and three scores.
A rough start for Georgetown saw it change quarterbacks midway through the first half, going from senior Fred Taylor to junior Bret Kirtley. For a short span, it provided a bit of momentum for the Bulldogs, who pulled to within 26-8 after a third-quarter touchdown pass by Kirtley.
It would be far from enough, however, as Conway answered with a pair of touchdowns to salt the game away.
After Georgetown pulled to within 26-8, Conway quarterback Darren Grainger connected with Pooh Brantley for a 46-yard gain to move well into Bulldogs territory. On the following play, running back Antonio Long sprung free for a 27-yard touchdown for the Tigers.
Conway QB Darren Grainger: Completed 11 of his 18 attempts for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Conway RB Antonio Long: Rushed for 89 yards on 13 attempts and three touchdowns.
Georgetown WR Fred Taylor: After being replaced at quarterback, he showed explosive capability at the wide receiver position, catching four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
By the numbers
Varsity starts Darren Grainger now has under his belt.
Trips to pay dirt made by Conway running Antonio Long on Friday night.
Plays of 20 yards or more the Conway passing game hit on Friday night.
They said it
“Of course I had jitters. It is my first time as head coach, and I was very excited but a little nervous. Our coaches did a good job of preparing them and the kids did a good job executing the plan.” – Conway interim football coach Carlton Terry
“(This offense) can be really dangerous … the most dangerous.” – Conway running back Antonio Long
“Coach just told me to go out there and play ball like I know how to play, and I went out there and followed the system … and you saw it out there.” – Conway quarterback Darren Grainger
Conway (1-0): at Wando
Georgetown: vs. Carvers Bay
CON — Antonio Long 1 run (kick failed)
CON — Long 1 run (Smith kick)
CON — Daiqwan Clark 1 run (kick failed)
CON — Darren Grainger 25 pass to Rakim Bellamy (Smith kick)
GTW — Safety
GTW — Bret Kirtley 15 pass to Fred Taylor (Conversion failed)
CON — Long 27 run (Smith kick)
CON — Grainger 36 pass to Xavier Kinlaw (Smith kick)
Rushing: CON — Daiqwan Clark 8-12, Rakim Bellamy 3-17, Antonio Long 13-89, Darren Grainger 6-11, Tate Finklea 2-10. GTW — Fred Taylor 6-(-21), Paul Lance 14-70, Jahbriel Walker 4-(-2), Bret Kirtley 5-(-4), No. 13 1-(-5), Ishmael Taylor 2-18.
Passing: CON — Grainger 11-18-254, 2 TD. GTW — Taylor 1-5-(-2), INT; Kirtley 10-17-111, TD.
Receiving: CON — Keimone Graham 2-66, Juwan Moody 2-18, Long 1-18, Pooh Brantley 2-87, Xavier Kinlaw 2-34, Rakim Bellamy 2-31.