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“One of the more exciting games I’ve ever been a part of.”
That is how Carroll County football head coach Mike Weedman described his team’s come-from-behind 33-27 overtime victory over Lewis County Friday, Aug. 24.
Down 19-7 until just before the half, Carroll came back to tie the game late in the fourth.
That’s when the Panther ‘D’ shined.
With first down on the 10-yard line and time ticking down, the Panthers kept the Lions out of the end zone, forcing the game into overtime.
Overtime in high school football consists of both teams receiving the ball at the 10-yard line and given four downs to score. Carroll lost the coin toss, and went on offense first.
Senior Tyshaun Embs scored on the second play, his fourth score of the night. Embs finished the game with 114 rushes on 21 carries and was named Carroll’s MVP in the Paul Westerfield Bowl.
On the 3rd and 13 play, junior Matt Bartley “had the play of the game, intercepting a third down pass that ended it,” Weedman said. “… I think he was probably the most surprised person in the whole stadium that he came down with it.”
Carroll County finished the night with nine first downs and 174 rushing yards on 38 carries. Junior quarterback John Michael Adams rushed nine times for 31 yards and was 4-8 for 39 yards and one interception through the air. Blake Newby rushed five times for 37 yards and caught two balls for 11 yards, while Dillon Craig rushed once for eight yards and caught one pass for two yards.
When asked why his team seemed to struggle to score in the first half, Weedman complimented Lewis County on their excellent game plan. “(Their) linebackers got to the ball well. Lewis County is very well-coached,” he said.
The Lions struck first with 2:31 gone in the first quarter, scoring on a 86-yard bomb from senior quarterback Levi Clark to senior Nick Ruark. Carroll answered with a 14-yard touchdown by Embs with 22.6 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Carroll was quiet offensively for much of the second quarter, while Lewis County scored two straight touchdowns, giving them a 19-7 advantage. Weedman said penalties and special teams mistakes were the culprit for much of their poor play. Carroll committed 13 penalties for 107 yards in the game.
However, special teams stepped up toward the end of the quarter as sophomore Caleb McCarty recovered a muffed punt, giving the ball to the offense on a short field. Embs scored from two yards out just before the half.
Things didn’t start well for the visitors in the second half, as Carroll fumbled away the opening kickoff, allowing Lewis to score four plays later. But that would be the last time the Lions crossed the goal line.
Embs scored another rushing touchdown with 2:43 left in the third. On the next possession, senior Dillon Craig returned an interception for a touchdown, his second of the season. He came up big again the next possession, as he intercepted another pass after it was bobbled by several players. However, a holding penalty stalled the drive and forced the punt.
As the clock ticked away, Lewis intercepted a Carroll pass in the red zone and returned it for a touchdown. However, it was called back because of a block in the back penalty.
On fourth and 15, Lewis converted a screen pass to the 10 yard line, setting up Carroll’s big defensive stand.
“I was really expecting them to run outside on us, and they ran three of the four times inside the line,” Weedman said. “Josh Gibbs made a lot of big stops on that series.” Gibbs finished the game with 11 tackles (four solo and seven assisted), three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
“It was an emotional game, one that everybody made mistakes, everybody made mistakes, but at the same time, everybody made plays when they had to,” Weedman said. “I can’t say how proud I am of the boys that they were able to gut out the big deficit and it shows a lot about the character of this team.”
Score by quarters
Carroll 7 6 14 0 6 33
Lewis 7 12 8 0 0 27
Other defensive statistics:
Blake Newby, 7 solo 3 asst 3 TFL 1 pass def
Zach Birch, 3 solo 4 asst 1 Fumble recovery
Dillon Craig, 1 solo 2 assist 2 INT 1 INT return for TD 36 yards
Cam Smith, 4 solo 5 assist 1 TFL
Tyshaun Embs, 5 solo 1 pass def
Matt Bartley 4 assist 1 INT in OT
Will Wallace 1 solo 10 assist
Kyle Prosser 1 solo
Casey Breeden 5 solo 8 assist 2 TFL
Tae Mumphrey 3 assist
Keifer McIntyre 2 solo 4 assist 1 TFL 1 Forced Fumble
Joe Gibbs 2 assist
Simon Guo 1 solo