By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The clock hadn’t even ticked off ten seconds on Friday night before the Raiders scored their first touchdown against the Mason County, setting an expectation they’d end up living up to with their 38-10 victory over the Royals.
It was Charlie Terry, who would end up scoring four of East Carter’s five touchdowns, on the first scoring carry. Terry broke out from the pack after East took their first down on the 35 to run the 65 yards for the first touchdown, taking the score to 6-0.
The teams had only been playing for just over three minutes when the Raiders’ Nikk Barnett scored touchdown number two, taking the score to 14-0 on a two-point conversion from quarterback Kanyon Kozee.
The Royals weren’t going to let the Raiders have a shutout though. Mason County made small, incremental gains to get into scoring position over a series of eight plays, earning their first – and only – rushing touchdown on a play by Brady Sanders and an extra point on the kick from Ashton Adams, to take the score to 14-7 with 6:27 left on the clock.
Before the quarter ended, though, Terry would give the Raiders their third touchdown, and Nikk Barnett their second two-point conversion, to put the score at 22-7 with just over three minutes left on the clock. The Royals didn’t make it easy, it took seven plays and a couple of penalties for face-masking, for the Raiders to get into scoring position.
When it was Mason County’s ball, the Raiders returned the pressure. The Royals had some impressive passes, but they couldn’t break through the East Carter defense and, as the clock continued ticking and the Royals found themselves with a fourth down, they opted for the field goal attempt, taking the score to 22-10 on another Adams kick.
It was the last points that East Carter would give up.
The Raiders ended the first quarter with first down and 21, after a penalty at the buzzer, and started the second quarter second and 18 on their own 25.
The Royals turned up their defense in the second quarter as well, holding the Raiders scoreless until Terry picked up another touchdown, his third and the team’s fourth, to take the score to 28-10. They kept their eyes on the ball after that too, breaking up a two-point conversion pass intended for Isaac Boggs. But what they didn’t count on was the Raiders’ tight teamwork, and Connor Goodman stepping in to snag the pass as Boggs took the hit, and increasing the East Carter lead to 20 points, at 30-10.
That’s where the score would stay, as a quarterback sack from the Raiders ended the half and sent the teams to their locker rooms to consider their strategy for the second half.
The Royals definitely came back ready to hold the Raiders back, and neither team scored a point in a tough third quarter that showed both teams scrambling for yardage.
It would be early in the fourth, again, when Charlie Terry would break out with a nearly 85-yard carry to take the Raiders to 36-10, and Kozee would push through another two-point conversion to put the final score at 38-10.
There was still time – just over seven minutes – for the Royals to try to turn things around, but despite a valiant effort they just weren’t able to push back against the East Carter defense. As the Raiders took over again on downs, they lined up for handshakes as they let the time run off on the clock.
Raiders head coach Tim Champlin was all smiles as the Raiders advanced to the next round of play.
“It feels really good to come in, take a program, and watch these kids just get better each and every year,” Champlin said. “This group of seniors came out and paved the way to come out and get a regional championship for the first time in school history. It’s unbelievable.”
Champlin also had high praise for Terry, whose strong performance has helped put the team over the top game after game.
“He’s an animal, man,” Champlin said with a laugh. “He runs hard. One guy is not going to bring him down. He runs really hard. Offensive line blocks really well for him. He’s explosive when he gets into open grass, and he does a phenomenal job.”
Kozee ended the night with six pass completions, for 63 yards. Terry ended the evening with 236 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Boggs had 96 yards, Kozee 59 yards, and Barnett six.
Goodman picked up 37 yards on receptions and Boggs added another 26 yards to Kozee’s passing total. Terry also had one fumble recovery for the team, and one solo tackle.
Kozee led the team in tackles, with six solo and two assists, for eight total. Boggs and Barnett had seven tackles each. Rylan Yoak and Bryson Kiser had six each, Izack Messer had five, Mikey Hall and Garon Castle two, and Goodman, Mikey Holbrook, Skyler McCormick, and Connor Skaggs had a single tackle each.
The Raiders face off against Belfry next, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, at home.
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