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HILLSVILLE –– One benefit of having an open week is the opportunity for coaches to scout the next opponent in person. Carroll County coach Tom Hale was hoping to see something other than what he witnessed in Abingdon’s rout of John Battle this past Friday, but the trip to Washington County only served as a confirmation.
“We saw them Friday night and they just reinforced what we already knew,” said Hale after the Falcons’ 49-13 win.
That knowledge consisted of one very important fact – Abingdon (3-2 overall, 1-1 district) will bring a solid football team when it visits Tommy Thompson Field for a Southwest District battle Friday with the Cavaliers (3-2, 1-0).
“They’ve got a very good quarterback who runs that offense very well, they return their runningback from last year and he’s looked good,” said Hale. “They’re going to be a very formidable opponent. We’re going to have to play well.”
Carroll County rolled to a 26-7 win in last year’s meeting, but the Falcons were playing without injured quarterback Jacob Hess, who will be back under center Friday. Hess threw for 140 yards and three scores in the Falcon win over Battle, with two of the TD tosses going to Caleb Widner. It was Widner who filled in at quarterback for Hess in last year’s Carroll game. Runningback Zac Crosswhite rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns Friday for Abingdon, which always seems to field some of the more potent skill people in the district.
“That hasn’t changed,” Hale said. “They’ll be a challenge for us to stop. I think we have a good game plan and I think we’ll move the ball, but we’ve got to be consistent.”
Should the Falcons stall offensively, kicker Mitchell Ludwig is a threat inside of 45 yards.
“With our injures I’d have to give them an advantage in the kicking game,” said Hale, who lost his punter, kickoff man and placekicker when Ulises Moreno suffered a knee injury against Grayson County. “They have an excellent kicker. I don’t know how they keep getting these guys, but he puts it in the end zone 90 percent of the time.”
Moreno wasn’t the only Cavalier left black and blue after a rugged first half of the season, but thanks to the bye week, Carroll will be a lot closer to full strength than it has been. Moreno may be able to do some kicking, but it’s almost a lock that he won’t be in the Cavaliers’ offensive or defensive backfields.
“We’re having to move guys around some,” Hale said of Moreno’s absence as a ballcarrier. “Right now it looks like it would be Kody [Alley] and Ryne [Ayers], and I have the utmost confidence in both of them, but we’ve got some other people we’re working there. Kody played basically the whole second half of the Grayson game, and Ryan went with a very tender ankle. He’s fine now. But we have to be prepared.”
The second half of the season will consist of nothing but SWD foes for the Cavaliers, who will need all the wins they can muster to make room for themselves in a very competitive Region IV Division 4 field. Hale agreed that 7-3 is a good number to shoot for.
“Being honest, Richlands is one of those games where we’ll have to play above our level and they’d have to give us some help,” he said, “but the rest of them, if we’re healthy and we line up and play, we have the opportunity to win. It’s just a matter of us executing, coaches coming up with good plans and getting our kids in the right spots.”
Carroll County found a 10th opponent for the next two seasons, adding a home-and-home with Martinsville to its schedule. Carroll has faced Martinsville twice in the playoffs, but the Bulldogs will join Mt. Airy, N.C., as first-time regular season opponents for the Cavaliers.
Abingdon (3-2, 1-1) at Carroll County (3-2, 1-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Tommy Thompson Field
Local radio: WWZE 101.1 FM
Abingdon defeated John Battle 49-13
Carroll County was idle
2009 – Carroll County 26-7
Last Abingdon win
None to date
1993–Carroll Co. 7-6
1999–Carroll Co. 28-0
2000–Carroll Co. 34-14
2002–Carroll Co. 34-23
2003–Carroll Co. 24-14
2003–#Carroll Co. 27-21, OT
2004–Carroll Co. 39-28
2005–Carroll Co. 33-7
2008–Carroll Co. 21-18
2009–Carroll Co. 26-7
Carroll County leads 8-6
Abingdon Carroll County
Open 8/27 L to Bassett 17-14
D PH-Glade Spring 42-0 9/3 D Patrick Co. 47-19
L to J.I. Burton 15-13 9/10 L to C’burg 40-0
L to Richlands 44-14 9/17 D Tazewell 50-13
D Tazewell 34-6 9/24 D Grayson Co. 36-35 OT
D John Battle 49-13 10/1 Open
at Carroll County 10/8 Abingdon
at Grundy 10/15 Marion
Virginia High 10/22 at Grundy
at Graham 10/29 at Richlands
Marion 11/3 Graham