By: Levi Burton
for Carter County Times
East Carter and Ashland’s district opener was full of drama and shifting momentum, with a wild 26 seconds that contained three touchdowns in the waning moments of the second quarter.
Ashland opened the scoring with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Bailey Thacker to Ricky Padron in the first quarter and another 16 yard touchdown pass from Thacker to Padron with 8:53 left in the second quarter.
East Carter answered with a 31 yard touchdown run from Charlie Terry to bring the score 14-6.
The Tomcats got those six points back with a one play, 64 yard touchdown pass from Thacker to Terrell Jordan.
The Raiders offense didn’t get on the field with a 99 yard kickoff return by Conner Goodman and a 2 point conversion by Kanyon Kozee with 5:16 left in the second quarter, which made the score 21-14.
“That was unbelievable,” said Coach Tim Champlin of Goodman’s 99 yard kickoff return. “That helped us the rest of the night, they never kicked it deep again.”
Goodman’s return touchdown seemed to breathe much needed life into the Raiders. Braiden Bellow recovered an onside kick on the Ashland 39 but the Tomcats defense forced a three-and-out to close the half.
As fog settled on the field the second half, Raiders got the ball and drove down to Ashland’s 37 before stalling. The Tomcats wasted no time, with a 2 yard touchdown run by Brent Mullins with 5:21 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders answered back with a 2 yard touchdown pass from Kozee to Issac Boggs with 9:58 to play, with the defense forcing a three-and-out, the Raiders got the ball back down 28-20 8:24 remaining.
Goodman came up big with a 40 yard reception to convert a third-and-eight but a turnover two plays later stalled momentum.
Ball security really hurt the Raiders again in this with two turnovers. One at a key moment in the game late in the fourth quarter and another in the first that turned into a touchdown catch for Patron.
“We’ve got to be better about our ball control,” said Coach Champlin. “Against great teams like Ashland you can’t afford to do that… we’ve got a great group of kids and they’ll bounce back from this.”
Kozee finished the game 9 of 17 with 138 yards passing and one touchdown, along with 40 yards on the ground. Goodman caught three for 80 yards and a touchdown. Boggs added his own touchdown with 32 yards on three receptions.
Terry rushed 18 times for 83 yards.
Vinnie Palladino had 92 yards on 14 rushes for the Tomcats with Mullins adding 39 yards and a touchdown on 5 rushes.
Thacker threw three touchdowns and completed 9 passes on 11 attempts for 157 yards. Padron grabbed six receptions for 76 yards and Jordan added 70 on two receptions.
East Carter plays this Friday, Oct 15. at Greenup County