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ATWOOD (September 21) — The West Carroll War Eagles returned home Friday after a four-week road trip boasting a 5-0 record. Hosting the Class 2A Gibson County Pioneers (4-1), the War Eagles …
ATWOOD (September 21) — The West Carroll War Eagles returned home Friday after a four-week road trip boasting a 5-0 record. Hosting the Class 2A Gibson County Pioneers (4-1), the War Eagles failed to gain traction on either side of the ball and were shutout 24-0 for their first loss of the season.
Prior to the game, members of the 1998 War Eagle team were honored. Twenty years ago, the team earned the school’s first-ever playoff win. Several of the players and head coach Thomas Dees were on hand and were recognized on the field, including current head coach Josh Wolfe.
West Carroll’s captains carried a number 55 jersey to midfield for the coin toss in honor of Will Fisher, who was an assistant coach for the team in 2015. Fisher wore 55 during his four years as a Huntingdon Mustang, twice earning All-Region honors before graduating in 2002. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 2007, he taught and coached at Lewis County, Camden and West Carroll before going to Spring Hill High School, where he was a U.S. History and Government teacher and offensive line coach until his death on September 2 at age 33.
Gibson County won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. A squib kick was picked up by Pioneer Jake Patterson and returned to the West Carroll 44. The War Eagle defense yielded just five yards on three plays, but Gibson County faked a punt and moved the chains on a 13-yard pass. Back-to-back runs by Ozzy Rico set up a first-and-goal at the 4. Rico lost four yards to War Eagle Shae Crocker, then was stopped after a one-yard gain by a host of defenders led by Zach Perry and Darrell Williams. Quarterback Payton Lamberson then kept and was sacked by Garrett Brooks for a loss of five. Lamberson threw incomplete on fourth down, and West Carroll took over at the 12.
The Gibson County defense pushed the War Eagles back to the 11 on two plays, then quarterback Trace Fuller threw incomplete. Devin Nash punted to Will Cantrell near midfield, and Blake Davidson made the stop at the War Eagle 38.
Lamberson kept twice for a first down then a gain of nine. Rico gained three to move the chains, then gained two down to the 11. Lamberson threw to Caden Wylie, and Kyler White made the stop at the 7. Lamberson then kept again for the touchdown. Hayden McGuire ran for the two-point conversion, and the Pioneers led 8-0 with two and a half minutes to play in the opening frame.
The ensuing kick sailed out of bounds at the 25, but officials ruled that it was touched by a West Carroll player and it was marked there accordingly. P.J. Odom ran twice for a total of nine yards, the Fuller kept for just enough to move the chains. Jeremiah Bryant ran for a yard as the first quarter ended, and Gibson County jumped offside to start the second. Bryant found space for a 31-yard run for a first down at the Pioneer 29. Fuller kept for three yards, then an Odom run was negated by a holding penalty against West Carroll. Fuller gained five on second-and-long, then threw incomplete. Nash punted for a touchback.
The Pioneers managed two first downs, but were held out of West Carroll territory and punted.
Starting at their own 8, the War Eagles went three-and-out. A Gibson County defender ran into Nash on the first punt, but the five-yard penalty wasn’t enough for a first down and Nash punted again.
The Pioneers started at their own 37. Rico ran for eight, then Lamberson kept for 25. He repeated for another 14 yards, then Rico was stopped at the line of scrimmage by Davidson and Armoni Bonds. Lamberson ran for nine, then threw to Wylie for a first-and-goal at the 2. With just 21 seconds until the half, Lamberson kept for just a yard but punched it in on the next try as time expired. Colin Warren ran for two points, and Gibson County led at 16-0 at the half.
The War Eagles received the second-half kick and started at their own 34. Jarrius Weatherford ran for a short gain, then again for 26 yards. After a short loss by Weatherford, Fuller threw incomplete and then dove on a fumble. Nash punted, and the Pioneers returned it to the West Carroll 42.
Rico gained just three on two carries, then Lamberson kept for 22 yards. Rico gained three, then Lamberson fumbled and Williams dove on it for the turnover.
A false start on first down set the War Eagles back inside their own 10, but Fuller kept for six then threw to Crocker for a first down at the 25. Fuller kept again for four yards, then completed a short pass. After the catch, the ball was fumbled and recovered by Gibson County.
Starting at the West Carroll 35, Rico ran twice for a first down, then was stopped for no gain by Brooks. Wylie ran for seven, then McGuire was stopped just short of the first down marker by Perry. On fourth-and-one, Rico was stopped for a loss by Davidson.
Again facing a long field at the 15, Bryant took a direct snap for seven yards. Odom ran for 16 on the final play of the third, then Fuller started the final frame with an incomplete pass. Next, he kept for no gain, then Weatherford gained just a yard. Nash made a great punt, downed at the Pioneer 19.
A personal foul penalty on first down set Gibson County back, and the War Eagle defense forced a three-and-out. The punt was downed at the West Carroll 35.
Fuller threw incomplete, then kept for five. An offside penalty moved the chains, then Fuller tossed to Crocker for three yards. The next pass was incomplete, and Weatherford gained five on third down. Going for it on fourth-and-two, the ball was fumbled and Weatherford dove on it for a loss.
Taking over at the West Carroll 48, Lamberson ran three times for a first down. A face mask penalty against the War Eagles moved the ball down to the 21. Rico took two tries to get a first-and-goal at the 10. War Eagle Luke Blankenship made two big stops, then Perry made another to make it fourth-and-goal at the 11. Lamberson then threw to Donte Holder for the touchdown. McGuire again added two points, and the Pioneers led 24-0 with just under a minute to play.
Starting at the far 40, Fuller threw incomplete, then ran for no gain. He connected with Crocker for a first down at midfield, then spiked the ball to stop the clock. Fuller completed to Crocker again as time expired.
With the loss, the War Eagles are 5-1, but remain undefeated in Region 7A (3-0).
West Carroll has a bye this week, then travel to Fulton City, Kentucky on October 5 for another non-region contest. Kickoff is 7 p.m.