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It was arguably the biggest game of the season for the Carroll County Panthers. A district road test against undefeated Owen County for a shot at the 2A District 5 title.
Down just 13-0 at halftime, the Panthers were unable to make the most of their opportunities, losing 33-7.
“We missed several opportunities early to take the lead early in the game, and we couldn’t capitalize on those opportunities,” head coach Mike Weedman said.
With the victory, Owen (8-0, 3-0) sits in first place, while Carroll (6-2, 1-2) falls to third place heading into this week’s game against district rival Trimble County.
The Panthers drove the ball into the Rebels’ red zone twice during the first quarter, but two missed field goals left them empty handed. They had another opportunity with the ball in the red zone right before halftime, but, again, were unable to score.
The Rebels started the second half with the ball and a 13-point lead. Weedman said his team made two crucial third down mistakes that allowed Owen to keep the drive alive and ultimately add on another touchdown to build a 20-0 lead.
Senior Trent Downs broke up the shutout with a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Weedman said he believes the defense played excellent, especially sophomore Blake Newby, who notched two of the team’s three interceptions. Junior Dillon Craig nabbed the other interception.
“(Blake is) all heart,” Weedman said. “He comes ready to work every day, and he’s an inspiration to see how well he’s become.” The head coach said starting defensive back/running back Tyshawn Embs sustained a minor injury during the game, and Newby got the nod because he had been playing so well when given the chance.
Despite their record (2-6, 0-3), Weedman said his team will not take the home matchup against the Raiders lightly.
“I think being able to bounce back and play well after that loss is important,” he said. “It’s a rivalry, and we know they’re going to play well against us.”
Weedman said he believes there were five to seven plays that made the difference in the outcome against the Rebels, but applauded his team for their effort.
“I’m very proud of the players,” he said, “because I think for the most part, they played very hard.”