By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The East Carter Raiders started strong and finished strong during the Battle for the Barrel against cross-county rivals West Carter last Friday, but in between the Comets gave the Raiders a fight, with the teams tied 28 all as they entered the final minutes of the game.
But the West defense just wasn’t able to hold, with Landon Yoak, who opened the game with the Raiders’ first touchdown, closing out the game by delivering again with just a minute and 13 seconds left on the clock. West just wasn’t able to rally again after that, and an interception by East’s Jaxon Barker at the 52 second mark gave the Raiders control of the ball again as those final seconds ticked off the clock.
The game’s first quarter, though, ended with a tie – signaling the kind of game fans could expect. The Raiders, as noted, were able to get on the board first, with a Yoak touchdown just past the halfway mark with 5:26 left on the clock.
But the Comets’ Dwaylon Dean responded in kind, giving West Carter their first touchdown three minutes later, with Wyatt Martin bringing the score even on a good kick.
East responded strong in the second quarter, adding another touchdown just over two minutes in, to bring the score to 13-7, and Yoak scoring again at the 4:30 mark to bring the Raiders to a 19-7 lead over the Comets, with a successful two-point conversion bringing the score to 21-7.
It didn’t take West’s Dean long to respond again, with he and Wyatt taking the score to 21-14 two minutes later.
East responded even quicker though, with Ryland Pfau taking control on the return and bringing the score to 27-14 just 12 seconds of play later, and Ryan Carter delivering on the kick again to bring the score to 28-14. That’s where the score would stay as the first half drew to a close. The second half, however, would see the Comets come back and work hard to turn things around.
After a brutal, back and forth third quarter Comets’ quarterback Kale Back connected with Dean at the four minute mark, bringing the score to 21-28 on a good kick.
They nearly tied it up before the quarter ended, with Dean leaping over tacklers and giving the Comets a first down as the final thirty seconds rolled off the clock.
The Comets kept that slow steady momentum in the final quarter, making incremental process against the East defense, and tying the game 28-28 with seven minutes on the clock on a surprise, 26-yard pass from wide receiver Isaiah Bond to quarterback Kale Back.
The next six minutes saw the Raiders take their turn with the ball, bringing the score to 34-28 after their attempt at a second two-point conversion proved unsuccessful. At that point, though, they just needed to hold the Comets’ offense. Which they were able to do until Barker’s interception in the last minute allowed them to take a knee and run down the clock for their victory over West.
West Carter goes into their Friday home game against Russell with a four loss and one win record.
East Carter plays their next game on the road, against Bath County, also on Friday night. They now have three wins and two losses on the season.
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