By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
East Carter extended their winning streak to four last Friday, with a win over a still struggling West Carter Comets team. But even as the Comets work to find their feet this season, the team continued to display the fighting spirit that has brought them success in previous years. But spirit alone wasn’t enough to hold back a Raiders team that has found their stride and is intent on maintaining their momentum.
Though the Raiders first run across the goal line, from #17, senior Dustin Hall, was called back after a flag on the play, there was no calling back the next attempt, from #30, senior Braiden Bellew, who gave East their first six points, or the two-point conversion from junior Bryer Holbrook, who took the score to 8–0 early in the first quarter. The Raiders then scored again, after senior Isaac Boggs recovered a West Carter fumble, taking the score to 16–0 as the first quarter ran out.
The Raiders had another touchdown called back in the second quarter, once again on a holding call, but like before the team followed up with another clean score from Boggs, on a massive 63-yard rush to take the Raiders to 22–0 with 9:15 left on the clock in the first half.
Michael Hall, # 21, a junior, scored number four for the Raiders, taking the score to 28–0, but the point after touchdown was no good after an error on the attempt.
Though they continued to struggle, West Carter’s Cole Crampton, senior #5, bulldogged his way to a two-yard gain followed by a sneaky quarterback keep for a Comet’s first down. But while those slow but determined gains and rushing have been a West Carter strong suit in the past, the Comets continued to have a difficult time getting past a more experienced East Carter defense.
When East Carter took possession back, with 4:23 left in the half, the Comets defense seemed to be getting back on track, holding the Raiders and pushing them back for third and 11, before the younger teams inexperience showed once more, and they gave up five yards to the Raiders on a flag, allowing the East Carter team to get their first down on the next play.
Though the first half would end without any more points scored, the Comets weren’t able to get the rally they hoped for in the second half. Even after a face masking call on the Raiders earned the Comets a first down, an incomplete pass brought West their fourth down, and another incomplete pass turned over the ball to East on downs.
The Raiders wasted no time capitalizing on the turnover, with #3 Gabe Roberts, a junior, taking the score to 34–0 on a passing touchdown, and a two-point conversion from Evan Goodman taking the score to 36–0.
West Carter’s Crampton, though, was determined to make sure even if his team couldn’t bring home the win, the Raiders wouldn’t have a complete shut out. After regaining possession of the ball, Crampton broke out for a long run, but had the ball knocked away in a tackle, to be recovered by East. After another holding call against the Raiders, and a turnover, Crampton continued to make steady progress for the Comets, finally putting his team on the boards with just over 8 minutes left in the second half. Connor Greene, # 34, took the score to 36–8 with a successful reception on the two-point conversion.
But if the Comets had hopes for a late game rally, the Raiders weren’t having it. Boggs added another rushing touchdown for the Raiders just three minutes later, taking the score to 42–8, with the game ending with a score of 448 on Cason Adams successful two-point conversion attempt.
That’s where the score would stay as the Raiders ran out the clock on the West Carter team, taking back possession of the barrel that West had held for the last few years.
East Carter coach Tim Champlin said he was happy with his teams winning streak, but that their success this early in the season didn’t mean the team could rest on their laurels.
“We’ve played pretty good football, and right now we’ve got a few options, they are really doing a good job,” Champlin said. “I was proud of the way Eli (Estepp) and Gabe (Roberts) and Mikey (Hall) and Evan (Goodman) stepped up tonight, even (Braiden) Bellew and Bryer (Holbrook). You know they (West Carter) did a really good job of taking balls away from us… (Crampton) had that little rush at the end, but they did a good job of taking him away and I thought the rest of our guys did a really good job of stepping up here too. Our defense is playing really well right now. I think they’re doing a good job of answering the bell each week and playing good football, so we’ll see.”
He said the win over West was a big deal for the school, even apart from their other success this season as well.
“It is. It’s a huge one for our kids. It’s a huge one for our school and our community, so we’re excited to bring it home and celebrate that. But it’s just 24 hours. We get to celebrate for 24 hours, and then it’s on to the next opponent and we’ll start game prep for them and get ready for the next one.”
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