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“It was one of the best ballgames I’ve ever had the priviledge of being a part of!”
That was Head Coach Mike Weedman’s assessment after his Carroll County Panthers pulled out a thrilling 10-9 win over Owen County, Friday to bring a positive end to the annual Football Homecoming festivities at Panther Field.
Leading 10-7, the Panther defense made two monumental, goal line stands in the game to prevent touchdowns by the visiting Rebels. Owen pushed to the one yard line but couldn’t advance further as Carroll County took over on downs. Owen did manage to score a safety with little more than two minutes remaining but the two points left the Rebels shy of a tie or win.
“Those two goal line stands were huge,” Weedman said. “We went into the game with the mentality that whatever they threw at us we weren’t going to lose.”
Owen scored first on a four-yard run by Joseph Wood late in the first quarter. The extra point attempt by Chris Day was successful giving the Rebels a 7-0 advantage.
Carroll sophomore Dillon Craig gathered in a 55-yard pass from junior quarterback Trent Downs to score the Panthers’ only touchdown of the game with just under two minutes remaining in the first period. Ben Newby kicked the extra point to knot the score at 7-7.
There the score remained until early in the fourth quarter. A Carroll County drive that began late in the third quarter brought the Panthers within scoring distance with a fourth and seven situation. Senior kicker Juan Badillo stepped up and put a 41-yard field goal between the uprights for a 10-7 score with 10:32 remaining in the game.
“He kicked for us a little last year,” Weedman said of Badillo. “He’s a soccer player and he came to me and said he was interested in trying out for football as a kicker. Our coaches have worked with him and taught him the fundamentals of football. He’s got one heck of a leg.”
On paper the game was statistically as close as the scoreboard indicated. Owen County managed to pick up 15 first downs to Carroll’s 10. Owen had 32 rushing plays on the ground while Carroll had 34. The Panthers held the advantage in rushing yardage, 207 to 184. The Rebels gained 121 yards passing while the Panthers took to the air for 61 yards. The Rebels held the advantage in total yardage with 310 to Carroll’s 268 yards. Carroll was whistled for eight penalties totaling 76 yards. Owen was penalized seven times for 55 yards.
Junior Carson Butcher was credited with 100 yards rushing on 24 carries. Sophomore Tyshawn Embs gained 31 yards on six carries. In addition to the touchdown reception Craig had two carries for 19 yards.
“I can’t say enough good things about Dillon,” Weedman said. “Whatever we ask him to do he’s willing to get in there and do it.”
Defensively, the Panther coaching staff cited the excellent efforts of seniors Jared Powell, Billy Mertz, Daniel Wheeler and Tyler Gross in the goal line stand that prevented Owen from a go-ahead score.
Now 6-2, the Panthers are assured of a winning season as they have two road games remaining on their 2010 regular season schedule. They will meet district foe DeSales (4-4) this Friday at Dupont Manual High School in Louisville.
“DeSales will be very tough,” Weedman said. “Last year they were really good. They are the defending state runnerup. They’re well-coached. Two years ago we gave them a real good run for their money.”
The Panthers will close the regular season at Dayton, Ky., on Oct. 29.