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Gallatin upends Panther homecoming battle 48-13

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By Kristin Beck

Carroll County head coach Mike Weedman summed it up best: “Too many mistakes, too many mistakes we couldn’t overcome.”

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The Panthers committed four turnovers, turned the ball over on downs three times and were penalized eight times for 60 yards, contributing to a 48-13 district loss to Gallatin County on Homecoming night.

“Our guys hate it. They’ve never lost to Gallatin County,” Weedman said. “Hats off to Gallatin County. They’re a good team.”

For comparison, the Wildcats were penalized six times for 35 yards and fumbled the ball twice, but the Panthers were not able to capitalize on their mistakes.

Weedman said he knew his team put up enough yards to win the game, and by looking at the statistics, he was right. They put up comparable yardage — 316 yards for Carroll versus 356 yards for Gallatin — and had more first downs than their opponent.

“The penalties and overall mistakes killed us in that game,” he said.

Gallatin County (5-2) got off to a lightning quick start, as senior Nate McCoy returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Carroll County (2-5) struggled out of the gate, committing three penalties on their opening drive, resulting in a punt.

After making a first down, the Wildcats faced a third and 9, and Carroll senior Keifer McIntyre forced a fumble, recovered by senior Josh Gibbs. But the Panthers’ offensive drive stalled as McCoy intercepted a pass by quarterback John Michael Adams. The Wildcats took over on their own 27-yard-line, resulting in a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior Austin Chapman to senior Jeff Eversole with 10:49 left in the second quarter, 14-0.

Carroll County answered with a three-minute scoring drive. Senior Jacob Wise returned the kickoff to his team’s 45-yard-line, and fellow seniors Blake Newby and Keifer McIntyre shared carries as the team marched down the field. McIntyre punched in a two-yard touchdown run to pull the Panthers within a touchdown.

But Gallatin got back on the board quickly as Chapman found Eversole left wide open coming across the field from left to right for a 67-yard score, 21-7.

Four plays later, a late option pitch from Adams to Wise resulted in a fumble recovery by Gallatin County. On the very next play, Chapman threw a 45-yard score to McCoy, and just like that, the lead was up to 20 points after the missed extra point, 27-7, with 4:07 remaining in the half.

But the Panthers did not get discouraged and marched the ball down the field on their next drive, converting on a fourth and five with a run by Wise. With the ball on the 13-yard-line, a would-be touchdown by Newby was called back due to a holding penalty. The drive stalled, and McCoy picked up another interception in the end zone as the first half expired.

Penalties continued to hurt Carroll County in the second half. In the opening drive, a block in the back penalty called back a first-down run by Wise. The Panthers ultimately turned the ball over on downs.

On third and nine, McCoy caught a pass around Carroll’s 40-yard-line, and Wise was able to knock him out of bounds at the five-yard-line. McCoy scored three plays later on a four-yard-running play, 34-7.

Strong running from three different backs and no penalties helped Carroll County score on their next drive. McIntyre, Newby, Wise and senior Michael Welch each carried the ball, resulting in a two-yard touchdown run by Wise with 4:30 left in the third quarter, 34-13.

Gallatin County returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 45-yard-line and earned two first downs. But Carroll County’s defense looked like it was going to hold them, forcing a fourth and nine on their own 24-yard-line. Unfortunately, Chapman rolled out looking to pass and was able to scramble away from some missed tackles and scored, 41-13.

McCoy picked off Adams on the first play of Carroll’s next drive and returned it to the home team’s 17-yard-line. On first down, Chapman threw a 17-yard touchdown to senior Jonathan Yarnell for what would be the game’s final score.

“I think McCoy is very good. I think he’s All-State-caliber,” Weedman said. “I think Chapman is very good, too. They’ve played a lot of ball together, and those two deserve a lot of credit.”

Carroll’s last two full offensive drives resulted in turnovers on downs. But on a positive note, the defense was able to force a Gallatin punt and freshman Dillon Skirvin recovered a fumble.

Despite the interceptions, Weedman said he was very proud of Adams for playing through pain, noting that his quarterback was very beat up and he was not sure if he would be able to play.

Weedman said the team is going to make mistakes, but “we’ve got to learn to overcome them … We could not have started the game [worse than] we did. That’s the worst start I’ve seen. I think we fought back hard enough to get back in the game, but we made mistakes.”

Newby led the team with 18 carries and 108 yards. McIntyre rushed 16 times for 81 yards; Wise, 16 times for 56 yards; Welch, six times for 35 yards; Cam Rose, four times for 20 yards; and Adams, 1 time for minus-12 yards. Wise also caught two passes for 28 yards.

Defensive coordinator JP Dale said he thought the front four played well, especially Gibbs and junior Caleb Guenthner. “Just quick release and blown coverages.”

As Carroll County heads into its bye week and the coaches look at the film, Weedman said, “I think we need to take a step back because I don’t think we’re playing as good a ball as we were before … We need to use this as motivation to get better.”

Carroll County hits the road again to take on Owen County Oct. 18, before finishing out the season with two home games. They will play Trimble County Oct. 25, and Dayton Nov. 1.