Thursday, October 6, 2005

Patriots lose district game to Carroll


Marshall Academy had its chances early against Carroll Friday night but couldn’t cash in. From there, it was a downhill ride.

The visiting Rebels put a damper on the Patriots’ homecoming festivities with a 55-0 District 1-AA win.

The Marshall defense stiffened on Carroll’s first possession, stopping the Rebels on a fourth and two at the Carroll 34-yard line.

The MA offense couldn’t capitalize.

Three plays later Marshall’s Wesley Harris recovered a fumble at the Carroll 47.

Tyler Sanders had a big 21-yard run to the 26, but later Carroll picked off a pass at the MA 8. The next Marshall possession also ended in an interception.

That’s when the Rebel offense ignited. A fast Michael Raby scored the first of his four first-half touchdowns, this one on a 73-yard run with 1:02 to go in the first quarter.

His other scores came on carries of 80, 48 and 63 yards. The latter one came with just 20 seconds to go in the first half.

Carroll was up 29-0 at the intermission.

“We had our opportunities in the first quarter, and we didn’t capitalize,” said MA head coach Wade Griffin. “We can’t quit. I can’t spell complacency, much less accept it.

“I’m disappointed, but I know we’re better than what we’re showing. We have to get tougher; you develop toughness.”

The big plays continued for the Rebels in the second half.

Perry Price scored on a 76-yard run with 7:33 to go in the third. Early in the fourth, Stephen Aldredge reached the end zone from 13 yards out.

Carroll’s final two scores came on Allen Cheek’s 35-yard interception return and Ellett Thomas’ 94-yard fumble return.

The Rebels had another interception with under two minutes to go to end any chance of points for Marshall.

The Patriots dropped to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in district play. Carroll improved to 3-3 overall.

Seniors Blake Work and Thomas Rodgers had been on IV prior to the game due to sickness. Their play was limited, Rodgers only playing in the second half. Late in the game, Marshall had 14 players to work with, as Rodgers, Work and an injured Harris were on the bench.

“I’m not much on excuses,” Griffin said, “but we had to move people around in the secondary and at linebacker.”

He said Work and Rodgers are an example for the younger players.

“Thomas (Rodgers) came up behind me at the start of the second half, put his arm around me, and said, ‘Coach, I’m here.’

“Blake (Work) is the same way. You have to tie him down to keep him out. He said, ‘Coach, I’m going.’

“The young guys need to feed off that.”

Griffin said he has been through similar struggles as a coach at Christian Brothers and as a player at Ole Miss and with the National Football League’s Colts.

“My last year with the Colts we were 2-14,” he said. “I’d go on the field when were were 21-0 down midway through the first quarter.

“We have to work our way out of this.”

Justin Gray was nine of 18 passing Friday night for 105 yards. Rodgers caught four passes for 63 yards. Sanders ran the ball 23 times for 99 yards.

Leading tacklers for the Patriots were Jake Paylor, Work and Jarvis Holloway with seven eacy. Jake Howell and Jonathan Allen each had six.

The Patriots go to West Memphis, Ark., this Friday night for a non-district contest. The Black Knights are 4-3 after a 58-21 rout of Marvell Academy last Friday night.

“West Memphis is talking playoffs in Class A, and they’re doing some good things,” Griffin said. “We have to reload.”

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