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The week was filled with activities, from a powder puff game to a parade through town, celebrating homecoming week. But when it came time for the big game, the Panthers football team was all business, shutting out district rival Gallatin County, 44-0.
“I think we did a really good job of not letting homecoming be a distraction,” head coach Mike Weedman said. “Our guys have worked hard year-round, and I think they understood that this game was more important than the festivities. Plus it was Gallatin County, and that’s a pretty easy game to get mentally ready for.”
The Wildcats were held to just 38 total yards of offense, -25 on the ground and 63 through the air. Junior Casey Breeden led the way for Carroll with 15 tackles, including three sacks, six tackles for loss and a safety. Sophomore Josh Gibbs had eight tackles, three for loss, and a fumble.
Assistant coach J.P. Dale credited the play of Breeden, Gibbs, Logan Doll, Duane Robbins and Kiefer McIntyre for Carroll’s (6-1) success in shutting out the Wildcat (4-3) offense.
“They shut down the running game and gave us a great pass rush. A couple of our younger linebackers, Will Wallace and Matt Bartley, grew up a lot Friday night.”
Other significant contributors for the defense were junior Brandon Franklin, who blocked a punt, and junior Dillon Craig and senior Nick Carroll who each grabbed an interception.
The Panthers jumped blocked and recovered by Franklin. Carroll attempted to run on first down and fumbled the ball, giving it back to Gallatin right outside their goal line.
On second down, Breeden sacked Gallatin quarterback Austin Chapman for a safety, putting the Panthers up 37-0 with 6:12 remaining in the third.
Carroll scored their final points of the game at the end of the third on a 16-yard touchdown run by Embs, 44-0.
Weedman credited his team’s ability to control the line of scrimmage as a key factor in the win. “We were able to beat them upfront, and that was key, that we were able to get the push up front on both sides of the ball.”
Carroll posted 417 yards of total offense, with 338 on the ground. Butcher led the team with 169 yards on 18 carries; Embs, 10 carries for 68 yards; Craig, 2 carries for 49 yards; Blake Newby, 5 carries for 31 yards; Downs, 4 carries for 14 yards; and Branum, 1 carry for 1 yard. Through the air, Downs was 4-13 for 79 yards.
The Panthers are on their bye week, giving them extra time to “get better,” Weedman said. Up next for Carroll is a date at Owen County, which is currently undefeated.
“I know they’re very good, I know they’re very strong, I know they’re very well coached,” Weedman said. “They’re more than likely going to be undefeated by the time we get to them. We’re going to have to play very well. We’re going to have to use this time to get ready for them.”