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Carroll defeats KCD 16-14 away

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By Kristin Beck

The Carroll County football team traveled down to Louisville Friday night and returned with a satisfying 16-14 win over Kentucky Country Day, retribution for the 27-7 home loss suffered last season.

On the opening possession, the Panther (4-0) defense held the Bearcats (3-1) to a three-and-out, forcing a punt. On Carroll’s first play from scrimmage, senior Carson Butcher broke away for a 60-yard touchdown run. The point after kick by senior Ben Newby gave the visitors a 7-0 lead and the momentum.

In the next series, the Panther ‘D’ forced another three-and-out. Carroll drove down the field, converted on a fourth down, and Newby kicked a 31-yard field goal to pad the lead to 10-0.

KCD punted again on their next drive. Unfortunately for the Panthers, a fumble in the quarterback-center exchange gave the ball to KCD in the Carroll red zone. KCD junior Isaiah Brents scored on a 9-yard run, and the PAT closed the gap to 10-7 in the opening minutes of the second quarter.

“We lost momentum at that point,” Carroll head coach Mike Weedman said. “We (didn’t move) the ball very well the rest of the half.”

KCD took advantage of a stalled Carroll offense and a “questionable” pass interference call and scored on an 11-yard throw and catch from junior quarterback Robert Scholtz to senior running back Nik Gorman to give them a 14-10 lead with 3:53 to go in the half.

However, the Panthers defense stepped up in the second half and did not allow the Bearcats another score.

Midway through the third quarter, Carroll began a long and physical drive down the field with senior Travis Branum carrying the load. He finished the game with 41 yards on 11 carries. “When you think of a football-type athlete, it’s Travis,” Weedman said. “He had a lot of hard, hard runs on that drive … He had some good blocks. He’s coming off of a knee injury and he also did a good job on defense playing middle linebacker.”

After they had marchedinto KCD territory, Carroll committed two straight penalties, backing them up to a 1st and 19. On the next play, senior Trent Downs threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to junior Dillon Craig with 11:53 to go in the fourth quarter. Carroll missed the PAT, leaving the door open for KCD to win with a field goal.

Weedman said KCD kicker junior David Holtgrave was very capable of hitting if they got the ball to the 30-yard line, so it was imperative that the defense hold their ground.

On what would be the last true offensive play of the day and with KCD lined up in Carroll territory, Scholtz started from the shotgun. Carroll junior Casey Breeden lined up on top of a wide receiver, and as the ball was snapped, Scholtz looked right, but never saw Breeden as he came back to his left. Weedman, who was standing at an angle behind the quarterback, said he could see the confusion in the quarterback’s body language. Scholtz threw the ball away, and Carroll closed out the victory.

Weedman said he will never forget that play. “(The) defense came up; there’s no question how well they played,” he said. “Everybody that played defense seemed to contribute.”

Coming into the game, the defense focused on pressuring Scholtz, who is said to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state and could be a Division I player. Weedman said the biggest stat of the night was Scholtz completing just 9 of 30 passes for 132 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Carroll offense generated 275 yards, compared to KCD’s 226. Downs was 3 for 4 for 62 yards and a touchdown. In addition to Craig’s touchdown catch, senior Evan Mefford caught one pass for 15 yards and senior Tyshawn Embs caught one pass for 10 yards.

On the ground, Butcher rushed 21 times for 145 yards and a touchdown in what Weedman called “the best overall game he’s ever played.”

Embs rushed eight times for 14 yards and Craig, five times for 13 yards.

The Carroll defense forced two fumbles—one by senior Nick Carroll and one by Mefford—and one interception by Craig. Branum and Breeden were the leading tacklers on the night, and senior Rowdy Yates registered two tackles for loss. Duane Robbins sacked the quarterback twice, while Brandon Franklin and Logan Doll each had one sack.

“I’m proud of them all,” Weedman said of his team. “There’s so many I’d like to recognize individually, I just can’t do it all.

“(The win) came at the right time; it was exactly what our team needed,” he said. “We have to build upon this win and take that as motivation into Bellevue and our district schedule.”