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Cavs squeak past Marion 14-13

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After being shut down in the first half, Carroll survived a last-second field goal attempt to win 14-13.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

MARION -- Upon delivering the Marion homecoming court to the Carroll County side of Hurricane Stadium, a stretch limousine stood mired in the muck in front of the Cavalier bench until a small gang of Carroll students climbed in the back for ballast and another one crawled in behind the wheel. As the limo driver pushed from behind, the engine was gunned and the limo schlepped off the field. Up to that point, it was the pinnacle of forward progress for the Cavaliers. Held to two first downs and 6 rushing yards in the first half, Carroll County controlled the ball after intermission and survived a last-ditch drive by Marion to edge the Scarlet Hurricane 14-13 in a Southwest District game. “It was a big win on the road against a real good football team,” said Carroll County coach Tom Hale after the third one-point decision of the year for his team. The win didn’t come without a little last-minute nailbiting by the Cavaliers (5-2 overall, 3-0 district). Giving the ball away on a punt to the Marion 6-yard line with just 1:56 to play, Carroll was pushed back as far as its own 27 before being allowed to exhale. Marion quarterback Matt Noe completed eight passes in the final two minutes, three each to Garrett Johnson and David Rivero, and scrambled 13 yards to the Carroll 28, but Ben Ampudia’s 45-yard field goal attempt fell well short as time expired. “I tell you, that last two minutes I thought I was going to throw up,” Hale said. “I really did. I can’t say enough about the effort of our defense. We held a real good ballclub to 13 points. I thought our kids played tremendous defense.” Indeed they did. After giving up 202 first-half yards, including 157 on the ground, the Cavaliers limited the Hurricane (5-2, 2-2) to 108 yards in the second half, 67 of that coming in the final two minutes. It didn’t hurt the Carroll cause when Marion’s top ballcarrier, Brett Johnson, was ejected with 10 minutes to play.  Shut out offensively but trailing just 13-6 at the half thanks to a defensive score, Carroll County took the lead on its second possession of the second half. Beginning from their own 31, the Cavaliers kept it on the ground in driving to the Marion 21, using a 27-yard run by quarterback Blake Bowman along the way. Facing fourth-and-3 from there, Bowman connected with tight end Jonathan Snow for a touchdown pass with 15 seconds left in the third. It was the fist completion to a tight end for Carroll this year, although the same play fell incomplete but nearly resulted in a long TD pass in the first half. “We wanted to save [the play] for the right time,” Hale said. “We didn’t want to wear it out, and that was the perfect time for that play.” Bowman hit Zack Surratt for the two-point conversion and the eventual winning points. It was the only trip to the end zone of the night for Carroll’s offense, but the Cavaliers were in charge of the ball most of the last two quarters and gained 117 of their 123 rushing yards after halftime. “Basically we just started blocking,” said Hale. “We wore them down a little bit. We kept doing what we do, and all of a sudden the trap started coming out of there and the sweeps started getting us yardage, just here and there. We just told our kids at halftime, our offensive line, ‘You’re not getting the job done.’ But you’ve got to give [Marion] credit. They’ve got some good football players, but as the game went on, we wore them down up front.” Marion scored on the game’s opening series, marching 86 yards in 10 plays with Noe hitting Johnson on a 37-yard TD pass for a 7-0 lead 5:35 into the game. Carroll got on the scoreboard when Tyler Reavis picked off a Noe pass at the 17 and ran through a Hurricane tackler at the goal line, but a bad snap on the PAT left Carroll down 7-6. Marion answered by driving 80 yards in eight plays, with Noe pushing across from the 1 with 5:18 left in the half, but the PAT was blocked, leaving the door open for Carroll.  Carroll moved into a tie with Richlands atop the SWD standings with the win. The two teams meet in Hillsville Oct. 30, a week after the Cavaliers host Grundy.   Carroll County    0  6  8  0––14 Marion                7  6  0  0––13

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First quarter Mar–B.Johnson 37 pass from Noe (Ampudia kick) 6:25 Second quarter CC–Reavis 17 interception return (run failed) 9:09 Mar–Noe 1 run (kick blocked) 5:18 Third quarter CC–Snow 21 pass from Bowman (Surratt pass from Bowman) 0:15                                   CC    Mar First downs                 9    11 Rushes-yards     39-117    36-206 Yards passing           47    104 Comp-Att-Int       4-6-0    10-24-1 Return yards             55    37 Punts-average     4-24.8    4-32.0 Fumbles-lost           0-0    0-0 Penalties-yards      2-10    9-83     Individual statistics Rushing–Carroll County, Caviness 15-57, Surratt 10-25, Moreno 4-16, Bowman 7-14, Huff 3-5. Marion, Rivero 7-93, B.Johnson 10-56, Bane 14-33, Noe 5-24. Passing–Carroll County, Bowman 4-6-0-47. Marion, Noe 10-24-1-104.

Receiving–Carroll County, Reavis 2-22, Snow 1-21, Caviness 1-4. Marion, B.Johnson 1-37, G.Johnson 4-30, Rivero 3-17, Royal 1-15, Nelson 1-5.