Friday the 13th may have been this week, but on Friday, September 6, the Carmi-White County Bulldog football team gave the visiting Red Devils of Sesser-Valier a scare.
A Sesser-Valier interception late in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Red Devils escaped with a 28-14 win over the Bulldogs. The final score left both teams with an overall record of 1-1.
“I was pleased with the effort tonight,” said CWC skipper Kurt Simon. “We fought against a more experience team tonight. I thought the difference was that they made some big plays and we could not when we had the opportunities to do so.”
CWC sent a message early in the first quarter. After their opening drive stalled, Bulldog punter Ethan Mahon pinned S-V inside their own 5-yard line. On the Red Devil’s first play from scrimmage, a botched handoff resulted in CWC’s Titus Wood tackling Sesser’s Jaden Lance in the endzone for a safety to give the Canines a quick 2-0 lead with 9:41 left in the opening quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Mahon found Luke Simon on a 24-yard touchdown reception with 4:51 remaining in the quarter to take an 8-0 advantage.
When the second quarter arrived, the Red Devils found their footing. Tanner Eubanks started to make his presence known, scoring the first of what would be four touchdowns in the game with ten minutes left in the half on a seven-yard run to cut the deficit to 8-6. With under two minutes to go in the second quarter, Eubanks scored again, this time on a three-yard scamper and completed the two-point conversion to give S-V a 14-8 advantage at the half.
Although he third quarter was dominated by both defenses, CWC had opportunities to swing momentum in their favor. On a fake punt, Mahon looked for Jaedon Reeder streaking down the middle of the field, but the pass just dropped out of his hands. After the defense forced the Red Devils to turn the ball back over, Reeder redeemed himself by sneaking behind the S-V defense for a 58-yard touchdown to knot the score at 14-14 with five minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Red Devils reclaimed the lead with 48 seconds left in the third frame as Eubanks caught a 12-yard pass from Peyton Bates to take a 20-14 lead into the final stanza.
As the final quarter progressed, neither squad could take advantage. It was not until under five minutes to play that the game was out of reach. That is when a Mahon pass targeted for Simon was picked off by Eubanks who turned it into a “pick-6” with 4:31 remaining in the contest to put the game out of reach 28-14 after Eubanks made the two-point conversion.
“To win ballgames like tonight, you have to play flawlessly,” added K. Simon. “Unfortunately, we didn’t, but with our attitude and effort tonight, we are going to win some games.”
As a side note, L. Simon completed the game with ten catches. According to statistician Toby Brown, that put the sophomore with the second-most catches in a single game in Bulldog history.
Justice Stubblefield holds the CWC record with 11 catches on 10-9-2015 against Hamilton County. Ironically, Stubblefield caught all of those balls from L. Simon's older brother, Jake.