For Carroll County, the only good thing about Saturday night’s benefit football game with Galax was that it didn’t count in the standings.
The Maroon Tide certainly gave the Cavaliers much to work on heading into the season opener as it busted big play after big play in a 44-3 victory at Galax. Thanks to a second quarter in which the Maroon Tide outscored Carroll 28-0, Galax took a commanding 41-3 lead heading into the half.
Senior running back Steven Peoples was a nightmare for the Cavaliers to defend as he rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and caught two passes for 131 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter. For the game, Galax gained 363 yards on just 33 plays while the Cavaliers were limited to 99 total yards of offense.
“I knew they would be tough. I knew we would have a hard time containing the Peoples kid. In the first half, I know a couple of other kids got loose on us, but the tempo was set there. He just made big play after big play and we weren’t able to contain him. That pretty much says it all,” Hale said. “The thing that disappoints me, we were making alignment mistakes defensively and things like that that really shouldn’t have happened. I don’t know if it would have made a difference or not, but those are things we see standing here on the field. We keep telling them and we are not getting it done. They definitely showed us what we need to go back and get to work on for the rest of the season for sure.”
Galax’s first offensive series was rather ominous for the Cavaliers as the Maroon Tide had three touchdowns of 19 yards or longer negated by penalty. The fourth time was a charm as quarterback Keyshawn Brown threw a pass in the flats to Peoples, who outran Carroll defenders for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Josh Blankenship blocked the ensuing extra point to keep the Galax lead at 6-0.
Darian Brown picked off a Cavalier pass seven plays later and returned it 38 yards to the Carroll 20. Peoples was in the end zone two plays later on a 22-yard touchdown run up the middle. Jonathen Reyna’s extra point put Galax ahead 13-0 with 4:53 left in the opening quarter.
Carroll got on the board later in the opening quarter after a bad snap sailed 34 yards over the Maroon Tide punter’s head, giving the Cavs the ball at the Galax 6. Carroll only mustered three yards over the next three plays, however, and had to settle for a 21-yard Chase Goins field goal for the only Cavalier points of the night.
The Cavs had a tough time moving the ball all night, managing just 50 yards rushing on 20 carries, while quarterback Connor Lundy completed 10-of-26 passes for 53 yards.
“I thought we would move the ball. I really did. I did not expect to get shut down like we did. That’s something we are going to have to go back and really look at,” Hale said. “I thought Connor was not real sharp, and then of course we did have several dropped balls, too. Everybody needs to take responsibility there, but I guess the most disappointing thing of all is I thought we would move the ball better.”
Galax took all the air out of Carroll’s sails with four touchdowns in the second quarter. Charles Harris made it 20-3 with a 38-yard touchdown run before Peoples hauled in the 97-yard touchdown reception. After a three-and-out by Carroll, Joseph Dixon broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown run on Galax’s next play from scrimmage with 1:46 left in the half. After another three-and-out by the Cavs, Keyshawn Brown hooked up with Dixon for a 37-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-3 heading into the half. Brown completed 4-of-9 passes for 182 yards and three TDs.
With the continuous clock running after halftime, Galax ate up more than 10 minutes on the opening possession of the third quarter before Reyna booted a 31-yard field goal for the game’s final points.
Fullback Kirk Jones led the Cavalier offense with 46 yards rushing on 10 carries, including a 22-yard run in the second quarter. The Cavaliers open the season Friday at Floyd County.
Carroll 3 0 0 0 - 3
Galax 13 28 3 0 - 44
G – Peoples 34 pass from K. Brown (kick blocked)
G – Peoples 22 run (Reyna kick)
CC – Goins 21 yard field goal
G - Harris 38 run (Reyna kick)
G – Peoples 97 pass from K. Brown (Reyna kick)
G – Dixon 40 run (Reyna kick)
G – Dixon 37 pass from K. Brown (Reyna kick)
G – Reyna 31 yard field goal
Fumbles – Lost0-01-0
RUSHING – Jones 10-46, Lundy 5-3, Blankenship 2-2, Underwood 3-minus 1.
PASSING – Lundy 10-26-1 53 yds.
RECEIVING – Bowman 4-24, Reece 3-26, Hoback 1-4, Jones 2-minus 1.
RUSHING – Peoples 10-102, Harris 9-71, Dixon 4-42, Team 1-minus 34.
PASSING – K. Brown 4-9-0 182 yds.
RECEIVING – Peoples 2-131, Dixon 1-37, Isom 1-14.