Carroll County’s football team shook off pre-season jitters Friday with a 14-10 win over Christiansburg at Tommy Thompson Field in the annual benefit scrimmage game in Hillsville. Depth on the Cavalier defensive bench paid off in the contest, which also had its share of offensive fireworks from Carroll’s Jacob Motley and senior Logan Trudell.
The Cavs scored a touchdown in the first quarter and added eight more points before halftime while holding the Blue Demons to three at the end of the second quarter. Christiansburg made some adjustments and garnered seven in the third before Carroll put the breaks on for the victory.
Carroll County head coach Eddie Sloss could barely suppress a grin at the notion his squad simply were not going to settle for anything other than a win last Friday. Sloss said he had served one year with the Blue Demons’ program before coming to CCHS. This season will mark Sloss’s fourth with the Cavaliers.
“It’s Jimmys and Joes is all I can say. It is the heart these guys have,” said Sloss, referring the the old saying it is the quality of the players not necessarily the plays they run. “Well, what I liked most (tonight) was I saw the resiliency. The ‘I will not give up’ in our players. They could have just as easily laid down and said here we go again after the seasons we’d had in the past. This is a different group here. These guys. They don’t think that way. They are fighters. Regardless of the score they are going to fight you and I tell you what, that is what it is all about.”
Sloss said he felt badly about not getting to get all members of the team involved in what started out as a scrimmage but gradually turned into a serious game. He said the decision was made because he felt other things were at stake in the contest.
“We needed this win tonight to kind of lay down the foundation for the season,” Sloss said. “The kids have already been talking about it since January. There was a lot of kids I wish I could have gotten into the game but like I said this (win) is huge for the team, the school and the community. Christiansburg is obviously a good program with 56 players on the roster. A lot of depth and good coaches. So, we’ll take it.”
He said he would have to watch the game film to decide but it appeared after the half the Demons were “pinching” the middle and taking away everything the Cavs could accomplish. Carroll countered with some outside opportunities but initially wasn’t able to block the effort as well as they’d hoped.
“Next week offensively we have some work to do,. They played well in the first half and they played well in the second half. They bent but they didn’t break,” said Sloss. “I told the kids defense wins the championships but the offensive has got to score some points. The thing about this year is I have some depth. We had the whole defensive line in play, keeping those guys fresh up front. That’s huge. When the defense is on the field all night those guys get tired. We have to find a way to get the defense off the field and the offense on the field (more). Put some more points on the board. I’m excited. There’s a lot to work on still.”
Carroll’s Jackson Shumate recovered a fumble as Christiansburg rumbled up field with 8:30 on the clock. Quarterback Jacob Motley connected on a pass to put Carroll on the scoreboard with the extra point missing the mark. A holding penalty denied Carroll six more at the 3:43 mark in the period following a beautiful run by Trudell.
The Demons pushed up to the Cavalier four-yard line but couldn’t convert following Dylan Rodrigue tackling Christiansburg running back Charles Nwaihesie, who figured prominently during the evening to come. Demon M.J. Hunter split the uprights for three to put C-burg on the board at the 10:34 mark in the second, trailing 6-3.
Carroll answered with Trudel scampering in for six more points and then running in for two more to give the Cavs an eleven-point lead with a little over 10 minutes remaining before halftime. The Blue Demons scored in the third on a pass to Hunter with 4:06 left in the quarter. The extra point kick by Rally Williams was good, as Christiansburg inched to within four points of Carroll County.
With three minutes left, Christiansburg made it to the Carroll 18, but a holding penalty stalled the drive and Carroll took over on downs after an incomplete pass to hold on for the victory.
CCHS 6 8 0 0 – 14
CHS 0 3 7 0 – 10
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.