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Prep Football: Carpenter’s diving catch sparks Cougars’ victory (with video)
BY JUSTIN RICE
No football team’s fate was written in stone after the third week of the season, but if ever a Game 3 play saved a season, it was Chris Carpen ter’s touchdown catch Friday night.
The Courtland senior made a diving grab for a 40- yard touchdown at the end of the first half, sparking the Cougars’ 35–6 nondistrict rout of Louisa.
“That’s how we got our victory, just by that catch right there,” Courtland quar terback Eric Washington said. “Everybody was excited after that. That’s the best catch he’s ever made.”
Without Carpenter’s catch, Cougars coach J.C. Hall said, Louisa might have made it a fight in the second half. Maybe the Lions would have come out of the locker room with extra energy.
And maybe Courtland (1– 2) would be staring an 0–3 start square in the face.
“That might have been the play of the season so far,” Hall said. “If we don’t get that, and it’s 7–6 at half time, I think we give them more life.”
Louisa took a 6–0 lead with an impressive opening drive, capped by Jeremy Jack son’s 12-yard scoring run. Courtland took the lead mid way through the second quarter when Brandon Ma son swept around left end for a 51-yard scoring run.
Louisa replied with a drive to Courtland’s 36, but on third down German Salazar intercepted a pass from the Lions’ Zac Jackson to give the Cougars the ball with one minute, 36 seconds before the half.
Washington hit a first- down pass to get the ball to the Louisa 41, but throws on first and second down were incomplete, and a third- down run gained one yard.
It was fourth down and the clock was stopped with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Hall knew he wanted to throw deep.
“I just didn’t know what route I wanted to run,” he said.
Carpenter lined up on the left side of the Cougars’ formation. He made one quick move and bolted straight down the sideline toward the end zone.
“I just stepped inside and bounced out, and [the de fender] was lost,” Carpenter said. “Eric just threw that thing as far as he could.”
Carpenter started his dive from just outside the end zone and the ball fell perfectly into his outstretched arms.
Even Louisa coach Jon Meeks was impressed.
“You love watching that; I just wish he hadn’t done it against us,” Meeks said. “That’s a great football play. The kid laid out for it. That’s the kind of thing you dream about.”
The catch energized the entire Courtland team.
Joe Tyson’s interception early in the third quarter set up Anton Jenkins’ 9-yard scoring run for a 21–6 lead.
Tyson scored on a short run early in the fourth quarter.
And Jenkins got his second touchdown—this time on a 4-yard carry—with 1:35 to play for a 35–6 lead.
Louisa showed a nice bal anced offense led by Zac Jackson, who threw for 145 yards and rushed for 82. But turnovers—the two inter ceptions and a fumble—and penalties kept the Lions from clawing their way back into the game. Injuries were also a factor for Louisa. The Lions (1–2) came into the game already banged up, and lost several more key players as the game wore on.
And the Courtland defense was also strong.
“They hunkered down and stopped a power football team. A strong, big team,” Hall said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Louisa 6 0 0 0 — 6
Courtland 0 14 7 14 — 35
Lo-J. Jackson 12-yard run (run failed)
Ct-B. Mason 51-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-C. Carpenter 40-yard pass from E. Washington (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-A. Jenkins 9-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-J. Tyson 2-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
Ct-A. Jenkins 4-yard run (S. Yurgel kick)
First downs@15 13
Rushing yardage@32-148 34-237
Passing yardage@145 94
Rushing: Courtland—Brandon Mason 9- 114, TD; Darien Grant 7-49; Anton Jenkins 8-47, 2TD; Joe Tyson 10-27, TD. Louisa— Zac Jackson 17-82; Markel Groomes 7-44; Jeremy Jackson 4-17, TD; Deion Johnson 1- 3; Trey Cherry 2-1; Raqell Carter 1-1.
Passing: Courtland—Eric Washington 4- 8-0 94, TD. Louisa—Zac Jackson 11-16-2 145.
Receiving: Courtland—Darien Grant 1- 41; Chris Carpenter 2-39, TD; Patrick Edwards 1-14. Louisa—Deion Johnson 5- 104; Trey Cherry 4-48; Timmy Harris 1-11; Jeremy Jackson 1-6.