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BLACKSBURG –– Playing a former district mate missing from the schedule since the old New River District closed up shop 18 years ago, Carroll County nearly found itself atop the standings of the stout River Ridge District after one game in its new league. Instead, Blacksburg picked up where it left off back in 1995.
The Bruins claimed their 21st straight win over the Cavaliers, scoring touchdowns on two their first four offensive plays in the second half and stopping Carroll late in the game to preserve a 17-13 River Ridge win at David Crist Field.
Carroll County (1-2) took a 7-3 lead into the half and received a gift when it kicked off to open the second half. Blacksburg deep man Korbin Hendricks failed to field a high kick and instead cleared away from the ball as if it were a punt, and Blake Dalton scooped it up for the Cavaliers at the Bruin 16.
Connor Lundy fired to Duncan Reece on an out pattern for a touchdown pass on the next play, and though the PAT failed, Carroll County led 13-3 just 12 seconds into the half.
The momentum swing lasted all of three plays.
On second-and-18 from the Bruin 23, Isaac Johnston found Kaleb Bohrnstedt all alone on a deep crossing pattern, and Bohrnstedt hit the afterburners to complete the 77-yard scoring play, cutting Carroll’s lead to 13-10 at 10:32 of the third.
Blacksburg took the lead for good on its next offensive snap.
Holding Carroll to a three-and-out and taking over on the Cavalier 37 after a 25-yard punt, the Bruins were in the end zone again when Johnston hit a wide-open Morgan McCoy for a 37-yard scoring toss. Carson Wise’s PAT would be the final point of the game, coming with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
Both Blacksburg TD passes benefited from busted coverage by the Cavaliers.
“It’s so disappointing because we keep doing it to ourselves,” Carroll coach Tom Hale said. “Both their touchdowns in the second half were assignment errors. We didn’t get it done. Our special teams play was very poor, but our kids played hard and it’s a shame for it to end up like this.”
Carroll County threatened twice in the fourth quarter but was stopped on downs both times. A fourth-and-2 play came up two inches short 90 seconds into the final period, and the two teams traded punts until Carroll took over at its 5-yard line with 4:54 to go. Carroll County worked its way as far as the Blacksburg 31 before a fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 45 seconds to play.
The Cavaliers held Blacksburg to negative yardage in the first quarter and drove 88 yards to break a scoreless tie. A 31-yard Bronson Bowman reception got the Cavaliers out from under their own goalposts and Reece had two catches for 35 yards as Carroll drove to the Bruin 10. Ethan Underwood burst through from four yards out and Chase Goins added the PAT for a 7-0 lead at 4:15 of the first.
After a Bruin Hall of Fame induction ceremony between quarters that included longtime Blacksburg baseball coach Jim Shockley, a former athlete at Carroll County and old Hillsville High, Blacksburg answered with an 89-yard, 16-play march, settling for a 21-yard Wise field goal after the Cavaliers stopped the Bruins at the 3.
Carroll outgained Blacksburg 311-287 in total offense, with 114 Blacksburg yards coming on its two touchdowns. Six Cavaliers teamed up for 127 rushing yards and Lundy completed 12 passes to six receivers for 184 yards. Reece (94 yards) and Bowman (50) each had four catches.
Johnston was 13-of-24 for 258 yards, hitting Bohrnstedt four times for 124 yards. Blacksburg was limited to 29 yards on 25 carries, including five sacks for minus-40 yards.
Blacksburg 17, Carroll Co. 13
Carroll County........7 0 6 0––13
Blacksburg.............0 3 14 0––17
CC–Underwood 4 run (Goins kick) 4:15
B–Wise 21 FG, 4:40
CC–Reece 16 pass from Lundy (kick failed) 11:48
B–Bohrnstedt 77 pass from Johnston (Wise kick) 10:32
B–McCoy 37 pass from Johnston (Wise kick) 8:39
First downs 17 14
Rushes-yards 32-127 25-29
Yards passing 184 258
Comp-Att-Int 12-26-0 13-25-0
Return yards 55 28
Punts-average 7-27.0 5-44.8
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-40 8-73
RUSHING—Carroll County, Edwards 10-42, Underwood 8-40, Lundy 7-22, Blankenship 5-19, Stiltner 1-5, team 1-(-1). Blacksburg, Johnston 10-16, Hendricks 9-8, Shelton 5-3, Fugate 1-2.
PASSING–Carroll County, Lundy 12-26-0-184. Blacksburg, Johnston 13-25-0-258.
RECEIVING–Carroll County, Reece 4-94, Bowman 4-50, Blankenship 1-16, Edwards 1-14, Underwood 1-11, Dalton 1-(-1). Blacksburg, Bohrnstedt 4-124, McCoy 5-79, Hendricks 2-24, Goforth 1-16, Hale 1-15.