Blacksburg hit two long touchdown passes within two minutes of each other to turn a 13-3 deficit into a 17-13 lead that stood up for a River Ridge win Friday over visiting Carroll County.
Thanks to a balanced offensive effort and stout defense, the Cavaliers built a 13-3 lead early in the third quarter after quarterback Connor Lundy connected with Duncan Reece on a 16-yard touchdown pass. Carroll County (1-2, 0-1 River Ridge) missed the extra point, however, seemingly allowing an opening for Blacksburg (1-1, 1-0 River Ridge) in Carroll’s first-ever River Ridge District game.
On the ensuing possession, Blacksburg quarterback Isaac Johnston found Kalen Bohrnstedt open over the middle for a 77-yard scoring strike. The extra point brought the Bruins to within 13-10 with 10:32 left in the third quarter.
After a short Carroll punt set Blacksburg up in great field position, Johnston struck again less than two minutes later, finding Malcolm McCoy on a 37-yard touchdown pass that gave Blacksburg a 17-13 lead that would stand with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
“We led in every stat but the one that counted. We played well. Defensively we had two breakdowns in the third quarter. They hit us with two long passes on back-to-back possessions. They had the right plays called,” Carroll County head coach Tom Hale said.
Carroll County took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter as Ethan Underwood scored on a 4-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Blacksburg could only manage a 21-yard field goal in the first half. The Cavs then caught a huge break to start the second half as the Bruins’ kick returner waved off everyone on the kickoff, allowing Carroll to jump on the ball at the 16 and take possession, setting up Lundy’s touchdown pass to Reece. The extra point failed, however, just one in a string of several special teams’ miscues by the Cavaliers.
“We threw a touchdown pass and went up 13-3 and then we miss the extra point. We just did stuff like that to ourselves all night,” Hale said. “Our special teams were not up to par. We weren’t very good there. It really hurt us in terms of field position and kept us backed up. We were moving the ball, it’s just tough when you have to go 80 and 90 yards. We have to do better on special teams and fielding punts. I felt like we left points off the board because of field position. We weren’t fielding the punts and we weren’t punting very well on the other side of it. It was just not good special teams all around. When you play a close football game, you have to have special teams come through for you. It’s no blame on one particular kid, we just didn’t get the job done on special teams.”
Carroll had a good night offensively, rushing 32 times for 127 yards while Lundy completed 12-of-26 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, including four completions to Reece for 94 yards.
The Cavaliers drove the ball down the field on its last possession, but the effort ultimately failed at the Blacksburg 31 when Carroll turned the ball over downs on 4th down and short.
“Offensively, I felt like we could have had at least one more touchdown, which would have made the difference in the game, but field position is everything. Our last possession we started on our 4 and made it to the 31 or 32 and turned it over on downs,” Hale said. “It was a heck of a game by both teams. It was a shame one of us had to lose. It was a real good game and our kids played hard, but you can’t make some of the special teams’ errors we did and two major mistakes on defense against good teams on the road and expect to win.”
Carroll County will have a bye week before returning to River Ridge District action Sept. 27 at Pulaski County.
Carroll Co. 7 06 0 – 13
Blacksburg 0 3 14 0 – 17
CC – Underwood 4 run (Goins kick)
B – Wise 21 field goal
CC – Reece 16 pass from Lundy (kick failed)
B – Bohrnstedt 77 pass from Johnston (Wise kick)
B – McCoy 37 pass from Johnston (Wise kick)
First downs 17 14
RUSHING—Edwards 10-42, Underwood 8-40, Lundy 7-22, Blankenship 5-19, Stiltner 1-5, team 1-(-1).
PASSING–Carroll County, Lundy 12-26-0-184.
RECEIVING–Carroll County, Reece 4-94, Bowman 4-50, Blankenship 1-16, Edwards 1-14, Underwood 1-11, Dalton 1-(-1).
RUSHING - Johnston 10-16, Hendricks 9-8, Shelton 5-3, Fugate 1-2.
PASSING - Johnston 13-25-0-258.
RECEIVING - Bohrnstedt 4-124, McCoy 5-79, Hendricks 2-24, Goforth 1-16, Hale 1-15.