It seemed like every time something went right for Carroll County, something bad followed Friday in a 28-6 loss to Floyd County in the season opener in Hillsville.
It started with Floyd’s opening drive of the game. Carroll was in good position to stop the Buffaloes with a 3rd and 7, but miscommunication led to a 65-yard touchdown run on the third play of the contest. Later, with the Cavaliers trailing 13-0, Carroll got the ball at the Floyd 31 with 44 seconds left in the half. Intentional grounding and false start penalties killed the drive, however.
Lastly, after Tristen Ousley’s 7-yard touchdown run put the Cavaliers on the board on the first play of the fourth quarter, a perfectly placed onside kick sailed right through the hands of a Carroll player into the mitts of a Buffalo. On the very next play, brothers Ian Bary and Joshua Bary hooked up for a 43-yard touchdown pass – one that Joshua Bary bobbled before regrouping to grab in midair for a 28-6 lead – effectively killing Carroll’s momentum.
“I could make excuses, but the bottom line is we just didn’t execute. You look at that first touchdown and we had them 3rd and 7 and that was a desirable down for us, something we wanted to be in,” Carroll County head coach Eddie Sloss said. “We just missed communication. We had two guys playing fore and no outside guy. We moved up a sophomore this week to play a safety position and he was used to outside linebacker. He was green, but I like his effort.”
Although Carroll’s 199 total yards were fewer than the 250 it put up in a benefit scrimmage the previous week in a loss to Galax, the Cavaliers did seem to be more consistent against Floyd in the new wishbone offense. Of those 250 yards last week, 149 came on two plays. This week, Carroll had a more balanced attack with Ousley rushing for 77 yards on nine carries and Colin Wells gaining 66 yards on 13 carries. Even so, Sloss said the Cavs will have to find some semblance of a passing attack to keep opposing defenses honest.
“We’re still trying to find our click right now. We are getting better but right now we are kind of one-dimensional,” he said. “In order to soften up the defense for our running game we have to be able to do some better play-action pass. Keep in mind we have a brand new quarterback and he has never played quarterback before. I am keeping that in mind, but he is hitting it in there and giving it everything he’s got. He’s a tough kid.”
After March’s early touchdown, Floyd made it 13-0 late in the second quarter when Jarrett Agee scored on an 18-yard touchdown run. After Carroll squandered a scoring opportunity to end the half, the Buffs went 52 yards on 10 plays, capped by March’s second touchdown run, a 6-yard scoring scamper, for a 21-0 advantage.
Aided by several strong runs by Wells, Carroll answered with an 11-play, 65-yard drive when Ousley busted up through the middle for a 7-yard touchdown. The extra point failed, however, and the Cavs missed another golden opportunity by just missing the perfectly placed onside kick.
“It’s frustrating. The onside kick they weren’t even expecting. We had a guy go right through his hands and just bobbled around a little bit and go in number two’s hands and there he goes,” Sloss said. “It’s just one of those things. You take a chance when you do it.”
March rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns to lead Floyd, while Agee ran 71 yards on 12 totes. Even though Carroll had beaten Floyd the previous two seasons, Sloss knew the Buffaloes would be a tough opponent this year.
“We had a couple of breakdowns on defense and they beat us on a lot of one-on-one blocks. We couldn’t get off their blocks. That is a good football team. These are games that we can win, but by no means was I looking past Floyd at all because watching them against Bassett they have some tall, lanky kids that are good athletes,” Sloss said. “We needed our guys to step up and we didn’t step up as well as they did. I felt like this was a team we could compete against if we played well but if we made mistakes we saw what would happen, what did happen.”
Carroll will try to rebound this Friday when it travels to Independence for its first road game of the season at Grayson County.
“We just have to have a better week next week, get focused a little better, a little more attentive to detail,” Sloss said. “As a coaching staff (we have to) try to put a plan together and put these kids in a place to be successful. We will see if we can learn from our mistakes.”
Floyd 7 6 8 7 – 28
Carroll 0 0 0 6 – 6
FC – March 44 run (Perez kick)
FC – Agee 18 run (kick failed)
FC – March 6 run (I. Bary run)
CC – Ousley 7 run (kick failed)
FC – J. Bary 43 pass from I. Bary (Perez kick)
First Downs 12 12
Rushes-Yards 36-239 48-193
Passing 2-6-0 1-5-1
Passing Yards 43 6
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 3-25 7-56
Possession 20:56 27:04
RUSHING – March 9-109, Agee 12-71, J. Bary 1-26, Adkins 3-17, Yates 6-13, I. Bary 1-9, Wood 2-minus 1, Team 2-minus 5.
PASSING – I. Bary 2-6-0 43 yds.
RECEIVING – J. Bary 1-43, Spencer 1-0.
RUSHING – Ousley 9-77, Wells 13-66, Trudell 9-24, B. Vaught 13-14, Taylor 1-8, C. Vaught 2-4, Team 1-0.
PASSING – B. Vaught 1-5-1 6 yds.
RECEIVING – Wells 1-6.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]