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The Panthers came home from their first road trip of the season with a win Friday night. Carroll (1-0) beat Pendleton County (0-1) 27-14.
“I think overall we did really well,” head coach Mike Weedman said. “… Pendleton County was well coached; I think they were a good team.”
Carroll struck first with a 1-yard touchdown run by Travis Branum, but missed the point after attempt. Pendleton followed with a 64-yard touchdown run by Sam Harrison and succeeded on the two-point conversion.
In the second quarter, Pendleton fumbled in their end zone, giving Carroll the ball back on their 20-yard line. Trent Downs threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Craig to cap off the drive, and Ben Newby kicked the extra point. With 33 seconds to go in the half, the Panthers padded their lead with another 1-yard touchdown run by Branum and PAT by Newby, 20-8.
“It was great just to see (Branum) stand out because so often the work he does goes unnoticed,” Weedman said. Branum left the game after getting banged up early in the third quarter, but the head coach said he would be fine by Friday’s game.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats scored on an 11-yard run by Travis Daugherty, but failed on the PAT. But the Panthers’ Tyshawn Embs kept the game out of reach by scoring on a 44-yard touchdown run, extra point by Newby.
The Panthers racked up 475 yards of total offense, including 317 rushing yards. Carson Butcher rushed 20 times for 160 yards, while Branum rushed for 41 yards and two touchdowns, Embs for 80 yards and one touchdown, Craig for 16 yards and Downs for 20 yards.
Downs was 7 of 11 for 158 yards and a touchdown. Weedman said Downs played exceptionally well, and three of his four misses were dropped passes that “should have been caught.”
“He did a great job of getting out of the pocket and making throws,” he said. “He’s playing really good football right now.”
Craig led the receivers with three catches for 82 yards. Butcher caught two passes for six yards; Evan Mefford, one catch for 34 yards; and Brandon Franklin, one catch for 31 yards.
Carroll’s defense stepped up their game, forcing three turnovers. Craig notched two interceptions, while Nick Carroll also had an interception. Duane Robbins recorded two sacks in the winning effort.
Weedman said the major area he would like to see improved is reducing the number of penalties, which came at inopportune times and killed drives.
Next up for the Panthers is their first home game of the season Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Lewis County.
Weedman said the two teams swapped tapes, and he and the coaches watched as the Lions overcame an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 33-30 on the road against Nicholas County. “They’re hard-nosed kids; they don’t give up,” he said of Lewis County.