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“Tonight, we played football the way it’s supposed to be played!”
That was Head Coach Chris Collins’ summary of Friday night’s game as he congratulated his Trimble County High School Raiders for their scorching 31-19 defeat over rival Carroll County High School. The loss was handed to the previously undefeated Panthers on their home turf in Carrollton.
“When we get into Bedford later tonight,” Collins told his team, “you can bet Bedford is gonna be rockin’!”
Trimble, after claiming a win in their first outing of the season, had dropped four straight before Friday’s battle with the Panthers. Carroll County had pounded out five straight wins in convincing fashion.
A “bye” rendered the team idle the weekend before they faced the Raiders, and one Panther official said he thought that was the crux of the Panthers’ performance last Friday. “I think last week off hurt us,” said Carroll assistant coach J.P. Dale. “Our momentum got stalled, and we were unable to pick it up.”
But Panther Head Coach Michael Weedman disagrees. “It wasn’t the off week,” he said. “Right from the opening kickoff, they [the Raiders] wanted it more than us.”
The Raiders scored quickly on their first possession of the game on a pass from quarterback Skiler Alexander to Blake Renfro. The Raiders added the extra point and never looked back.
Carroll scored on a 1-yard run by D.C. Craig with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter; but, the kick missed and Trimble held onto a 7-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Trimble scored again on a 5-yard run by Cameron Adamski with 9:33 left in the first half. The extra point attempt was wide, but Trimble held onto a 13-6 advantage.
The Panthers pulled even at 13-13 after a 4-yard run by Zach Wise and a successful point after with 2:23 left in the half. That would be as close as Carroll County would come to overtaking the Raiders. The Panthers never were able to take the lead.
Seconds later, Trimble junior Adamski broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run, a play that set the tone for the remainder of the game. Trimble’s attempt at a two-point conversion was foiled by a bad snap, but the Raiders owned a 19-13 advantage with 2:02 remaining in the half.
“We made the right plays at the right time tonight,” Collins said. “The game turned in our favor when Cameron (Adamski) had that 75-yard run there.”
Moments later, Carroll County fumbled the kickoff return; Trimble regained possession and ground out the remaining 1:51 of the first half.
“A tackle here and a tackle there, and it’s a whole different ballgame,” Dale said.
Trimble gave up the ball when the Panthers recovered a fumble on the first play of the third quarter. Three plays later, the Raiders intercepted a Panther pass and made the best of it by adding another touchdown on a 6-yard carry by Adamski with 5:02 remaining in the quarter. The point-after attempt was wide again, but the TD put Trimble ahead, 25-13.
Carroll County moved the ball to the Trimble County 23-yard line late in the third and began a march to another score. A 7-yard carry by Wise put the ball on the 16-yard line. The next play gave the Panthers a first down on the 11-yard line before the Trimble defense threw Carroll for a 4-yard loss. Carroll threw three straight incomplete passes and Trimble took possession of the ball with 1:05 to go in the quarter.
Carroll County pulled off one more touchdown when Wise broke free for a 40-yard run just into the fourth quarter. Trimble’s defense blocked the point-after attempt, leaving the score 25-19 in favor of the Raiders.
Trimble’s Alexander reciprocated, scoring on a 1-yard carry with 3:01 remaining in the game. The TD brought the game to its final score, 31-19 in favor of the Raiders. The Panthers were unable to move the ball in their final possession.
“Our whole defense has to be commended,” Collins said of the Raiders. “We’ve had a great effort all season, but tonight we executed a complete game – both on offense and defense.”
Statistically, Carroll had 15 first downs to the Raiders’ 11. The two teams were even on rushing yardage with 247 each. Trimble was four for 10 in passing for a total 87 yards, with one interception and one touchdown pass. Carroll was four for 15 in the air for 54 yards and one interception.
“Skiler Alexander came in and threw some solid passes, and that helped open the game up for us offensively,” Collins said.
Carroll fumbled six times and recovered only two. Trimble turned the ball over once in three fumbles. Carroll County was tagged for six penalties totaling 45 penatly yards. Trimble had three penalties for 15 yards total.
Offensively, Adamski had 15 carries for 138 yards and three TDs for Trimble. Michael Edens had 11 carries for 105 yards.
Carroll’s Wise had 12 carries for 167 yards and two TDs. Craig had seven carries for 15 yards and one TD.
Trimble receivers Renfro and Edens each caught two passes; Edens’ reception totaled 47 yards; Renfro caught for 40 yards and a TD.
For the Panthers, Jesse Proctor hauled in three passes for 44 yards. D’Anthony Collins had one catch for 10 yards.
“I think they might have overlooked us,” Trimble’s Collins said, explaining “our biggest trouble has been with turnovers. So when you look at that stat it’s not very hard to overlook us.”
“This is a big rivalry, and our kids are always up and ready for Carroll County,” Collins observed. “It doesn’t take much to get them ready for a game like this. In fact, this was the worst week of practice we’ve had all year. The effort was down, lackluster.”
“I don’t think we overlooked them. ... I got out-coached, it’s as simple as that,” Weedman said. “I offer no excuses.”