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Cavaliers hit the field

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Carroll County rushed for 6.7 yards per carry behind a new offensive line in its first scrimmage.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 HILLSVILLE –– During a conversation the day before Carroll County’s first scrimmage of the year, Cavalier coach Tom Hale expressed some real concerns about the inexperience of his offensive line.

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If Saturday’s go-round with Rural Retreat is any indication, progress is definitely being made.

Carroll County moved the ball well on the ground, averaging a little less than seven yards per rushing attempt, as the two teams went at it for three hours on a cool, damp morning at Tommy Thompson Field.

“I thought for the first time out, with an inexperienced offensive line, they came together and did real well,” said Hale, entering his 12th season at Carroll County with a front seven that features one returning starter. “There wasn’t a series where we didn’t move the ball.”

Rotating a series each of first unit, second unit and JVs, each team got in about 60 offensive snaps before calling it quits. Carroll County (6-5 last year) divvied 48 rushes among eight ballcarriers for 321 yards, and two quarterbacks completed 9-of-14 passes to six different receivers for another 146 yards.

Each team scored three touchdowns. Rural Retreat had 48 rushes for 278 yards and completed 5-of-8 passes for 95 yards with one interception.

“From all indications I understand Rural Retreat is supposed to be a pretty good football team this year,” Hale said, “and they had some plays come out on us, and that shows a lot on their part.”

The Cavaliers drove 53 yards to the Rural Retreat 17 on their first series before running out of downs. The Indians were throttled to 6 yards on six carries before three consecutive trap plays netted 17 and 43 yards, then a 10-yard scoring run.  

“We really need to work there,” Hale said of his defensive front, which ended the day with nose guard Jacob Mollet at end. “We tended to get upfield, and really the main play that kept coming out was that trap, and that was because we were getting upfield. We don’t want to get upfield. We’ll get it corrected, we just need to gear them down a little bit. They were pretty hyped up today.”

Carroll County’s second offense was the first to find the end zone as quarterback Jordan Lamb connected with Lee Underwood on a 62-yard catch and run.

Ryne Ayers capped Carroll County’s third series with an 11-yard scoring run, crashing between two Rural Retreat defenders at the goal line on the final play of the 10-play set.

Brooks Hash ended Rural Retreat’s next series with an interception, and the Cavaliers’ second unit drove 64 yards before running out of plays at the Indians’ 6.

Rural Retreat caught the Cavaliers out of position on the fist play of their ensuing drive and scored from 70 yards out on a fullback trap. The Indians used their final nine plays to march as far as the Carroll 31 before the series ended with a sack by Alex Horton.

“Our linebackers really played well, especially our three stack backers,” Hale said. “All five of them played well. The two outside ’backers have got a pretty tough job, and we’ve got a few things to work on, but I thought our linebackers did a good job. Our secondary had that one pass at the end there, but they didn’t do it on us consistently, so I’m not terribly disappointed.”

Carroll County’s first down-and-distance series ended with a 27-yard Ulises Moreno field goal, and the Cavaliers stopped the Indians on a fourth-and-1 at the Carroll 35.

Hash had a 22-yard reception to the Rural Retreat 42, the biggest gainer in a 12-play drive that was capped by Blake Bowman’s 1-yard keeper.

The teams traded possessions before the Indians ended the scrimmage with a 49-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-10 play.

Ayers led all Cavalier ballcarriers with 80 yards on six attempts, Moreno rushed seven times for 75 yards and Kody Alley picked up 68 yards on five attempts to go with a team-high three receptions for 25 yards.

Bowman completed 6-of-8 passes for 54 yards and Lamb connected on 3-of-6 for 92 yards.