After losing in double overtime to Winona Christian the week before, the Carroll Academy Rebels came out slow against Oak Hill on Friday night.
But while the Rebels may have started slow, they finished strong.
The Rebels scored on four straight possessions to start the second half and cruised to a 50-13 win over Oak Hill.
With the win, the Rebels improve to 6-2 on the season and will travel to Tunica Academy next.
Carroll coach Bo Milton said there were a variety of factors working against them.
“We didn’t play very good at all,” Milton said. “It was homecoming and it was just a sloppy game. There was probably a little hangover from last week. But I give Oak Hill a lot of credit. They played really hard, especially to start the game. The defense didn’t play bad at all. They threw it like 50 times and just kept throwing it. They only scored once on the first group so I can’t complain too much.”
Oak Hill got the ball to start the game and fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Carroll then went 33 yards in five plays as Mims ripped off a 25-yard run and then scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. The try for two failed and Carroll led 6-0.
It wasn’t until later in the first quarter before Carroll got going as they went 62 yards in nine plays as Mims scored on a 4-yard run. The try for two failed and Carroll led 12-0.
Oak Hill then responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive of their own as they scored on a 21-yard pass to cut the lead to 12-6 as Logan Taylor blocked the PAT.
After a big return by Mims on the ensuing kickoff to the Oak Hill 47, Carroll went 47 yards in five plays as Mims scored on a 1-yard run with 10:46 left in the second quarter for a 20-6 lead that lasted until halftime.
“We just kept on running the ball, doing the same old, same old,” Milton said. “We got the ball to start the second half and we went down and scored. We did that a couple of times and scored 22 points in the third and put the game out of reach. We might have had a little turnover from the Winona game.”
After a sluggish first half, the Rebels got in gear in the second half. The Rebels got the ball to start the second half and went 54 yards in four plays as Mims scored on a 21-yard run. The try for two was good and Carroll led 28-6.
After an Oak Hill punt, the Rebels got moving again, going 89 yards in four plays. After a 20-yard run by Lofton Holly, Mims ripped off a 47-yard run. Holly finished off the drive with a 2-yard run and Jon Marc O’Cain ran in the two-point conversion as Carroll extended the lead to 36-6.
After holding Oak Hill on downs, Carroll again marched down the field as they went 55 yards in just three plays. After a 30-yard run by Carpenter, Noah Beck scored on a 4-yard run to make the score 42-6.
Carroll got the ball right back with an interception by Logan Taylor. This time, Carpenter scored on a 5-yard run and Beck ran in the two-point conversion to give the Rebels a 50-6 lead.
The Rebels had 393 yards of total offense with 390 rushing. Mims had 157 yards rushing on 13 carries with four TDs while freshman Lofton Holly had 114 yards on 14 carries. Maddox Carpenter had 60 yards on five carries while John Marc O’Cain had 46 yards on four carries.
Milton praised his young running backs in Holly and Carpenter, who moved up from the junior high team to help replace Hunter Bracken and Braxton York, who are out with injuries.
“We were able to play a lot of kids,” Milton said. “I thought Lofton Holly did a great job of stepping up. Braxton York and Hunter Bracken are both out with collar bones. It’s next man up. We didn’t panic, it’s just next man up. We moved up a good group of ninth graders and that gives us 30 kids now. Maddox Carpenter also had a good night as well. Our ninth grade skill kids had 192 yards and two touchdowns. I thought they gave us a lot of depth. It was just a good team win.”
Logan Taylor led the defense with eight tackles and also had an interception, a fumble recovery and one blocked extra point.
The Rebels will travel to Tunica Academy this week in a non-division contest.
Tunica, the defending Class A 11-man state champion last year, is 3-4 on the season. They have a forfeit win over Macon Road Baptist and wins over Kirk (8-6) and Oak Hill (48-42). They have losses to North Delta (35-0), Greenville Christian (25-12), Lee Academy (35-8) and Marshall (42-6).
“They beat us last year but lost just about every starter they had,” Milton said. “They were the A state champions last year and had a good team. They beat Oak Hill in triple overtime a couple of weeks ago but have had some bad losses.”