Slow finish to a solid start

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Carroll County sputtered in its final two offensive series but racked up close to 400 yards anyway.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE -- Maybe there’s something to be said for quitting while you’re ahead. Carroll County had a downer of a finish to its first scrimmage of the year, but it didn’t lessen the strides made on the day as a whole in the eyes of Cavalier head coach Tom Hale. “Up to the last two possessions I felt like we had a very solid scrimmage,” said Hale after his Cavaliers were finished knocking heads with Rural Retreat for close to three hours. “I felt like with all the new guys up front there, they really did a good job. We got better today.” Hale meant better as in the big picture. After rolling up close to 400 yards in four 10-play series, the Cavaliers’ final two sets went nowhere, netting 16 yards and a lost fumble. “At the beginning everything was comfortable to them,” Hale said. “It was like a practice because all the coaches were there with them. When we went into the first-and-10 series we basically said ‘You’re on your own now,’ and I think maybe it was a little lack of confidence. We weren’t there to answer every question. I think that’s typical of guys, especially offensive linemen, who don’t have a lot of experience.” Up to that point, though, there was little that Hale couldn’t have been happy with. Thirteen ballcarriers combined for 337 rushing yards on 42 plays and two quarterbacks were a combined 4-of-4 for 61 yards. All four catches were made by senior rookie Tyler Reavis, on the football field for the first time since ninth grade. “Tyler Reavis had a great scrimmage defensively and he caught everything we threw at him,” said Hale. “I felt [starting quarterback] Blake Bowman had a good day. But I really felt our offensive linemen did a heck of a job.” Averaging 8.0 yards per carry despite returning one full- and one part-time starter would attest to that. Bowman, Zack Surratt and Dillon Caviness benefited by rushing for 63 yards or more apiece, including a team-high 81 yards on seven carries by Surratt. “Zack is an animal,” Hale said. “And defensively he made some nice plays. He’s probably the fastest kid on our team.” Ulisis Moreno charged over from 9 yards out as the Cavaliers romped 80 yards in their first five plays of the scrimmage. Bowman kept on a 61-yard scoring run three plays into the starting offense’s second series, and Surratt capped that set with a 23-yard TD run. Jacob Mollet added a 30-yard touchdown run with the second unit and placekicker Mason King was true on all four of his extra point attempts. Carroll County has made some changes on both sides of the ball, including spreading things out a little on offense. “It’s the first year ever that I’ve not used a tight end, and I thought our kids executed well, except for the last two series,” said Hale. On the other side of the ball, Carroll unveiled its new 3-4 look. Giving up three running plays of 20 or more yards and coming up with nine tackles for a loss are typical of what the new scheme will produce. “It’s one of those deals where we’re moving and we’re getting after it and if a play comes out we understand it’s going to be a big play, but you make up for it by getting losses along the way. Today that’s what happened. I felt our defense did a good job.” Rural Retreat’s second offense scored on a 28-yard pass in the Indians’ second offensive series. The Cavaliers allowed 216 yards on 48 snaps, including 148 yards on 37 rushing attempts. Carroll County will travel to Galax for a benefit game this Friday before opening the regular season next week at Bassett.