Carroll County Coach Eddie Sloss would have been pressed to find a better metaphor describing the Cavalier’s 48-14 victory over Patrick County Friday. Sloss described Carroll’s first win of the season as “rain coming after a summer drought.”
Carroll County piled up 436 yards rushing with two players over 100 yards (Brennan Vaught had 114 yards on six carries and Tristen Ousley had 107 yards on nine rushes) and a third, Colin Wells, falling two yards shy with 98 yards on 14 carries. Carroll’s first series of plays set the tone for most of the evening.
“Well, to be honest with you we kind of watched them. It looked like they were lined up differently,” said Sloss as he described how the Cavs read what the Cougars had in mind and derailed it with an onside kick to open the game. “We’d watched them on film. It actually looked like they were lined up differently and I didn’t know how it would work. It appeared they were a bit soft up front and we felt pretty good about getting there. It worked out.”
Carroll recovered the ball at its own 48-yard line with a little over two minutes off the clock in the first quarter. Colin Wells got the first down, powering through to the Cougar 12-yard line and teammate Brennan Vaught rumbled in on the next play to light up the Cavs’ side of the scoreboard.
With 7:04 left in the first quarter, Tristen Ousley scampered 37 yards to hit pay dirt for another score. The two-point conversion fell short, but the quarter ended with Carroll leading 12-0.
In the second quarter, Ousley chugged in to add six more points on a 21-yard touchdown run. Brennan Vaught connected with Wells on the two-point conversion to add a couple more points. Ousley sprinted 20 yards for another touchdown at the 4:25 mark and the kick by Caxton Vaught split the uprights and brought the score to 27-0 in favor of the Cavs.
Ousley wasn’t about to be denied in the third, scoring with 14:41 left on the clock as he shook off Cougar defenders, and returned the kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. That was followed by a successful two-point conversion by Ousley as Carroll County piled on a 35-point lead.
There was 4:40 left to play in the quarter when Patrick’s Ty Stanley scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. Teammate Harkey Good’s kick was successful and put Patrick on the scoreboard with seven points as the Cougars appeared to rally.
In the fourth quarter, Stanley scored on a one-yard run with 9:39 left in the game and Good’s kick split the uprights to make the score 35-14 with Carroll still in the lead. Carroll sealed the deal with 49 seconds left on the clock as Conner Horton ran 38 yards for six more points.
Sloss said overall he feels the team has “come a long ways” recently. He said he was proud of the kids and his coaches and that it was refreshing to get a win before a week off.
“I think a lot of it is the kids have decided what they want to do. They’ve really stepped it up. They have worked hard the last two weeks in practice,” Sloss said. “The last two weeks have been probably the best two weeks since I’ve been here. Just preparation. We’ve picked up our tempo in practice. I really feel like these kids are hungry. They just don’t want to be out here to play and take a loss. They want to fight (for it).”
He said he felt last week’s game against Grayson County, which ended in a 21-17 loss for Carroll as a late rally fell short, was a missed opportunity but one they didn’t dwell on.
“We looked at last week as a we-got-better type of thing. Obviously, I feel like we had a chance to win that game last Friday. The kids knew that, too,” said Sloss. “We didn’t do well against Floyd but the kids are really responding.”
Noting Patrick rallied in the third quarter, Sloss indicated he felt it was a good opportunity to get better with other members of the team getting more playing time under their belts.
“Yeah, I was disapointed. Any time you’re giving up easy yardage and the kids aren’t making the plays you’d like to see them make, of course it’s dissapointing. But they battled back and made a couple of plays. We wanted to get those guys in under these circumstances instead of being down and getting them in at that point. It’s nice to be able to do that and win the game. Disapointing, but they got some good experience.”
Sloss said it was a good feeling for the team to ring up one in the win column, particiularly after losing in previous weeks to Floyd and Patrick. He said some have already written Carroll off as a competitor in district play.
“I beg to differ. I think there are some teams we can compete with,” Sloss said. “I think these guys are going to compete. I’m excited about a week off. We have a chance to refine, to look at what we do and get better. We have Blacksburg in two weeks. I’m excited about that because that’s (like) a homecoming game to me. I’d like to see if we could stir up something there. “
Sloss chose not to single out anyone on the line in the contest, noting there were no standouts as far as being a phenomenal offensive linemen and said it was a “total team effort up front.” He said the squad still needs to work harder on its pass defense, calling it being Carroll’s “Achilles heel” at the moment.
“As far as the backs, it was a team effort. All the running backs ran hard,” said Sloss. “They blocked for each other. Pokey, he’s done a phenoninal job at quarterback. He’s like having a coach out there on the field. He’s pretty smart and he’s done a great job. I really can’t single anybody out as doing really well. I know Tristen Ousley had a breakout game on the kickoff return and a couple of long runs. He did well. All our kids have the potential to do that. I’m asking guys who have never been a defensive back to be a defensive back this year. We’re trying to find kids who can compete and get in somebody’s face. Obviously the referees felt differently about that tonight, and maybe they’re right but at least they’re competiting. They’re not 20 yards away. I can live with those penalities (tonight) but we obviously have to eliminate them.”
Sloss said he was very happy for the win and happy the Cavaliers are not making as many mistakes because the team is in tune with what they are doing, trying hard to minimize mistakes.
“We’re taking care of the football. We didn’t have near as many fumbles with maybe two tonight and we only lost one of those, I think,” Sloss said. “I think our best defense is keeping the other offense off the field.”
He added that the Cavaliers’ offensive efforts in the first half were aided by this, with the team keeping better field position over the Cougars
Patrick County 0 0 7 7 – 14
Carroll County 12 15 8 13 – 48
CC – B. Vaught 8 run (C. Vaught kick)
CC – Ousley 37 run (run failed)
CC – Ousley 21 run (Wells pass from B. Vaught)
CC – Ousley 20 run (C. Vaught kick)
CC – Ousley 80 kickoff return (Ousley run)
PC – Stanley 35 run (Good kick)
PC – Stanley 1 run (Good kick)
CC – B. Vaught 79 run (C. Vaught kick)
CC – Horton 38 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — B. Vaught 6-114, Ousley 9-107, Wells 14-98, Trudell 11-57, Horton 1-38, Taylor 2-20, C. Vaught 1-2.
PASSING — B. Vaught 3-6-0 57 yds., Rotenizer 0-1-0 0 yds.
RECEIVING – Wells 1-36; Ousley 2-21.
RUSHING – Ty Stanley 9-80, C. Martin 7-16, Ty Martin 5-7, #2 – 1-5, Hutchins 8-minus 5.
PASSING – Hutchins 3-9-1 26 yds; #2 9-19-0 152 yds.
RECEIVING: Scott 4-80, Amos 4-45, Martin 2-19, Radford 1-26, Stanley 1-8.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.