Carroll Academy football Coach Bo Milton said the difference between his team and Tri-County was pretty simple on Friday night.
Tri-County made its two-point conversion in overtime, and the Carroll didn’t.
The two teams played to a scoreless tie in regulation before Tri-County came away with a hard-fought 8-6 win to hand Carroll its first loss of the season.
Carroll falls to 3-1 on the season with the loss and will travel to Newton County Academy this week in Decatur.
For Milton, a former head coach at Tri-County, it was a tough game to lose.
“If you were a fan of defense and hard-nosed, slobber-knocking football, you got your money’s worth on Friday night,” Milton said. “Basically, it came down to one play that separated the two teams. They got their two-point conversion in overtime and we didn’t. I was really pleased with the effort we played with, especially on defense. You couldn’t ask more from a group of kids.”
The game was one of missed opportunities for the Rebels, who were forced to punt six times but also lost two fumbles and had a touchdown pass called back early in the fourth quarter.
“We did enough on offense to win,” Milton said. “We rushed for 228 yards and had 35 yards passing, but we shot ourselves in the foot too many times. We aren’t designed to be behind the chains. We got some holding calls that really hurt us, but I thought our kids battled all four quarters and in the overtime.”
Carroll got the ball to start the game and put together its best drive of the game with 16 plays but a series of penalties and losses forced a punt.
The Carroll defense also faced plenty of tests, especial in the first half as Logan Taylor made a leaping interception at the Carroll 1. On the next series, Tri-County turned the ball over on downs at the Carroll 11. At the end of the first half, Tri-County was denied again on an interception by Morgan Mims in the end zone ended another scoring threat.
“I thought the defense played great,” Milton said. “I’ve never been in a game where it was 0-0 at the end of the game. I thought we turned them back several times. We had a couple of big interceptions. We gave them some good field position and were still able to hold them out. I thought our defense tackled well and played sound defense.”
In the second half, the two teams traded fumbles to start the half.
After recovering a Tri-County fumble near midfield late in the third, Carroll had a touchdown called back on a penalty early in the fourth.
Tri-County also missed a scoring opportunity as they missed a 25-yard field goals mid-way through the fourth.
In overtime, Tri-County got the ball first and scored three plays in on a 6-yard quarterback keeper. The two-point conversion was good and Tri-County led 8-0.
Carroll needed just two plays to find the end zone as Mims called his own number on the option play to score on a 6-yard run. He was then stopped short of the goal on the two-point conversion attempt as Tri-County held on for the win.
Hunter Bracken led Carroll on offense with 103 yards on 20 carries while Mims had 63 yards on 14 carries. Braxton York had 21 yards on six carries while John Marc O’Cain had 16 yards on four carries. Logan Taylor had one catch for 35 yards.
On defense, Hogan Costilow led the team with six tackles and a fumble recovery. Mims had five tackles and an interception while Taylor had four tackles and an interception. Austin Smith had four tackles, including two for a loss while Reese Fulton had two tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Rebels will hit the road to face a familiar foe this week at Newton County Academy.
The two teams met in pre-season action in the Tri-County jamboree so Milton knows exactly what his team is facing on Friday night.
“They are going to be a physical team, they always are,” Milton said. “They don’t have a lot of depth and are a lot like us. It should be another physical football game.”
Newton is 2-2 on the season and has lost two straight. The Generals opened with a 54-7 win over Porter’s Chapel and then beat Benton 33-0. The Generals then lost 33-14 to Oak Hill and 40-7 to Wayne Academy last week.
Last year, Carroll beat NCA 25-6.