Capitalizing on a Carroll County fumble early in the fourth quarter, Pulaski drove 98 yards in six plays Friday to cement a 24-3 River Ridge District win over the Cavaliers in Dublin.
Trailing 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, a Carroll County (1-3, 0-2 River Ridge) offense that was limited to 124 total yards seemed to catch the break it needed when a bad snap on a punt put the Cavaliers in great field position at the Pulaski 23 with 10 minutes to play. Carroll would drive to the Cougars’ 2, but fumbled on 1st and Goal.
Pulaski (3-2, 1-2 River Ridge) put the game away six plays later when Jesse Draper broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown on a QB keeper. Instead of trimming the deficit to 17-10, the Cavs were down 24-3 with 6:16 remaining.
“That was a huge swing right there because we don’t score and they end up going down and scoring, so basically that is a 14-point turnaround,” Carroll County head coach Tom Hale said. “And if we score there, the momentum comes back to our sideline and now they get tight.”
Defensivley, the Cavaliers did a relatively good job containing Pulaski’s up-tempo, quick-strike offense. Pulaski was held to just a 29-yard Shane Chrisley field goal in the first quarter and led just 10-3 at the half.
Carroll only was able to manage one first down in the first quarter, however, and the Cougars eventually were able to break big plays. All three Pulaski touchdowns went for 40 yards or longer - a 54-yard Tyler Ervine touchdown reception in the second quarter, a 42-yard Brandon Jones TD run in the third, and Draper’s 64-yard run in the fourth.
“Offensively we didn’t help ourselves out on the other side of the ball. If you’re playing defense all the time, eventually they are going to break a play and I think that is what happened tonight,” Hale said. “Offensively we were just not there. I think a lot of it has to do with the number of young men we have trying to play two ways and we are playing an up-tempo offense. Of course losing Duncan (Reece to an ankle sprain in the first half) there hurt us a little bit in the passing game. Our kids gave it everything they’ve got , we just can’t seem to get it together.”
After falling behind 10-0 early in the second quarter, the Cavaliers eventually got a drive going as Kendall Edwards broke a 12-yard run and quarterback Connor Lundy hit Ethan Underwood on back-to-back passes of 14 and 19 yards and found Josh Blankenship for a 16-yard gain. The Cavs eventually marched to the Cougars’ 7-yard line, but Carroll had to settle for a 29-yard Chase Goins field goal after a false start penalty on third down.
The Carroll defense made a couple of big stops, including forcing a Pulaski fumble at the Carroll 2 just before halftime. The Cougars also missed a pair of field goals in the third, including a 30-yard attempt that was blocked by Josh Blankenship. But Carroll’s offense never threatened the rest of the way except for the missed opportunity after the bad punt snap early in the fourth quarter.
“I think with the number of kids we’ve got going two ways, it gassed us a little bit,” Hale said of the Carroll defense. “A couple of times we didn’t get lined up correctly and they had the right play called.”
Quincy Rollins led the Pulaski offense with 123 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Brandon Alley and Brandon Jones each rushed for 73 yards for the Cougars. Draper ran for 66 yards on three carries and completed 3-of-8 passes, all to Ervine, for 95 yards.
Carroll will try to bounce back Friday when it hosts River Ridge foe Hidden Valley on Homecoming at CCHS.
Carroll 0 3 0 0 -3
Pulaski 3 777 - 24
PC – Chrisley 29 field goal
PC – Ervine 54 pass from Draper (Chrisley kick)
CC – Goins 29 field goal
PC – Jones 42 run (Chrisley kick)
PC – Draper 64 run (Chrisley kick)
First Downs8 17
Penalties-Yards 6-40 9-80
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-1
RUSHING – Edwards 11-39, Underwood 4-15, Blankenship 5-10, Goins 1-6, Lundy 10-minus 14.
PASSING – Lundy 5-24-0 68 yds.
RECEIVING – Underwood 2-33, Blankenship 1-16, Bowman 1-11, Davis 1-8.
RUSHING – Rollins 20-123, Alley 13-73, Jones 8-73, Draper 4-66, Ervine 1-15, Semones 2-2, Grubb 1-minus 1, Johnston 1-minus 2, Team 2-minus 22.
PASSING – Draper 3-8-0 95 yds., Johnston 0-1-0 0 yds.
RECEIVING – Ervine 3-95.