Two touchdowns in two minutes helped Carroll County turn a nine-point deficit into a six-point halftime lead Friday en route to a 36-16 win over Martinsville in Hillsville.
Despite dominating the Bulldogs in a battle of previously winless teams, Carroll County (1-4) trailed 16-7 late in the first half when Taj Taylor rambled 58 yards on a fumble return after quarterback Connor Lundy lost the ball on a sack. The Cavs had limited Martinsville to 53 yards of offense up to that point.
With his team needing a spark, Carroll County’s Patrick Davis instead provided fireworks. Fielding the ensuing kickoff at his own 7, Davis got jammed up in the middle before getting free to the right sideline and turning on the jets. With one man to beat, he easily shook Martinville’s Tyler Hutchens to complete a 93-yard return for a touchdown. Jake Dillon’s two-point conversion run pulled the Cavs to within 16-14 with 2:17 left in the opening half.
Lucas Holder recovered a Martinsville fumble three plays later, giving Carroll the ball at its own 27 with 1:11 remaining in the half. After Dillon converted a 3rd and 10 with a 14-yard run, Chris Smoot hauled in a Lundy pass on the right sideline, then ignored the instructions of his coaches, breaking a tackle and busting loose for a 59-yard touchdown reception. Another Dillon run on the conversion put Carroll in front 22-16 just moments after trailing by nine.
“That was an unbelievable turnaround,” Carroll County head coach Tom Hale said. “I was just looking to take a knee and get in there and made adjustments. We decided to go to our two-minute offense and Chris made a great run after the catch. We were all yelling, ‘Get out of bounds,’ but he made a heck of a play.”
Smoot said when he caught the ball, he could hear everybody on the Carroll sideline yelling for him to get out of bounds.
“But I was just trying to make a play,” Smoot said. “If I score, I’m a playmaker. If I get tackled, it’s bad. But when Patrick scored I knew we were going to turn it around.”
Carroll County’s late second-quarter explosion carried over into the second half as the Cavs never looked back in securing its first win of the season. Following a 17-yard Martinsville (0-5) punt, the Cavs opened the third quarter with an 8-play, 59-yard drive capped by Lundy’s 1-yard touchdown on a QB sneak. Dillon added his second 2-point run of the night to put the Cavs ahead 30-16.
The defense came up with another big play on the following possession. After a 39-yard pass from DeShaun Price to Berto Garcia set the Bulldogs up at the Carroll 10, Smoot came up with an interception in the end zone to thwart a potential scoring drive. Smoot, who finished with 5 receptions for 115 yards, also had two interceptions on the night as Carroll limited Martinsville to 188 total yards.
“It wasn’t just me. The defense did a great job on everybody else to free me up to make plays,” Smoot said. “It feels good to get our first win. We had to get it done.”
The Cavaliers tacked on an insurance score with seven minutes left as Kody Alley stepped in front of a Price pass and returned it 72 yards for another Carroll County touchdown and a 36-16 lead.
The Cavs took a 7-0 lead to open the game on a 4-yard Dillon touchdown run. Martinsville went ahead 8-7 late in the opening quarter when Larry Perkins scored from 43 yards out on a reverse and Price added the 2-point conversion. The Bulldogs made it 16-7 with 2:36 left in the half on Taylor’s big fumble return before Carroll turned it around with the late scoring barrage in the first half.
“I’m proud of them. We were facing adversity, but the guys never give up. There has been times we didn’t make plays, but we stepped it up defensively and made plays when we needed them,” Hale said. “I thought offensively we did a great job when we needed to. We weren’t quite as efficient, but we knew they would be tough because they are quick and big. Our defense played a heck of a game. We only gave up one touchdown and it was a trick play, so I’m real proud of our defensive performance tonight.”
More importantly, the Cavs are a leg up from last season when they entered Southwest District play with an 0-5 record after a loss at Martinsville. Hale hopes the win will provide the team confidence as it opens the SWD slate this Friday at home against Abingdon (2-3).
“Last year at this time we were starting district play 0-5,” Hale said. “Getting that first win going into the district is huge for us.”
Dillon rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to lead Carroll, while Lundy completed 9-of-14 passes for 161 yards.
Martinsville 8 8 0 0 - 16
Carroll Co. 7 15 8 6 - 36
CC – Dillon 4 run (Ruiz kick)
M – Perkins 43 run (Price run)
M – Taylor 58 fumble return (Perkins pass from Price)
CC – Davis 93 kickoff return (Ruiz kick)
CC – Smoot 59 pass from Lundy (Dillon run)
CC – Lundy 1 run (Dillon run)
CC – Alley 72 interception return (kick failed)
First Downs10 19
Passing 4-10-3 9-15-0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 4-40
Possession 21:36 26:24
RUSHING – Perkins 5-50, Garcia 6-14, Price 11-13, Taylor 5-9, Hodge 2-4, Waller 1-0.
PASSING – Price 4-10-3 98 yds.
RECEIVING – Garcia 2-68, Perkins 1-16, Tinsley 1-14.
RUSHING – Dillon 16-74, Blankenship 7-53, Davis 7-38, Alley 3-27, Team 3-minus 12, Lundy 5-minus 25.
PASSING – Lundy 9-14-0 161 yds., Alley 0-1-0 0 yds.
RECEIVING – Smoot 5-115, Case 3-36, Reece 1-10.