By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
East Carter’s game against Tolsia on Friday ended on a sad note. After a shove in the end zone turned into fans coming onto the field and a confusing fray on the sidelines officials and administration at first considered continuing the game after clearing the stands of spectators. After more deliberation they decided to end the game. It ended what had been a tough, back and forth game, with the Raiders up over the Rebels 36-21.
East didn’t score their first touchdown until the second quarter, and that was quickly followed by a Tolsia touchdown. East Carter scored twice more before the end of the quarter, bringing the score to 21-7 on a touchdown from Dawson Whitt (21). There was a flag on that play, though, as Tolsia player earned his team a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after shoving an East player in frustration.
The end of the first half almost foreshadowed what was to come in the third quarter when Charles Terry (20) scored touchdown number four for the Raiders, bringing the score to 27-7. Before the Raiders could kick their extra point, though, one of the Tolsia players, who had tackled Terry in the end zone as he scored his touchdown, shoved him which led to a fight in the endzone. As the Tolsia team surged forward, either to join the fight or break it up, a handful of East players shot across the field, along with East coaches and, based on fan video posted to Facebook, a few East and possibly Tolsia fans who decided to join the fray.
The Raiders did eventually make good on their extra point kick, bringing the score to 28-7. Tolsia then scored again, bringing the score to 28-13, and then 28-15 after successfully running a two point conversion.
After scoring touchdown number five and running their own two point conversion the Raiders brought the score to 36-15. But the Rebels turned it around and scored again, bringing the score to 36-21 before another apparent incident in the stands led officials to end the game.
The Raiders played good team football throughout the game, holding a determined Tolsia team as best they could while continuing to steadily gain ground and points.
Coach Tim Champlin, who admonished his boys throughout the night to take the high ground, advising them to put their hands in the air and step back whenever Tolsia players shoved them, was upset with the outcome despite the game ending with an East Carter victory.
Champlin said the call ending the game wasn’t how he or the team wanted to win.
“No. We wanted to play football. But it’s what happened so we’ll take the win and go home,” Champlin said.
When asked about his repeated calls to his team not to engage with Tolsia players when the game got rough – he told his players to put their hands up when confrontations began – he explained it’s an integral part of his coaching strategy and work as an educator.
“We preach courtesy and character here,” Champlin said. “I thought my guys played with that tonight. They took a lot. At the end of the night, something happened and they tried to go help their teammates, right or wrong, and we’ve got some things to fix and we’ll try to get better for next week.”
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