Jacob McReynolds scored the last of his four touchdowns with 6:22 to play Friday as Tazewell ended an 18-game losing streak with a 27-26 Southwest District victory over visiting Carroll County.
Carroll County (1-7, 0-3 SWD) moved the ball deep in Tazewell (1-7, 1-1 SWD) territory on the ensuing possession with a chance to regain the lead. But after quarterback Connor Lundy converted a fourth down, the Bulldogs forced a fumble and recovered around the Tazewell 20.
“It was 4th and 5 and we had a spread-out pass and Connor had a run-pass option. We told him if the linebacker flew out, try to get under the linebacker route and tuck it and run it. He did everything but tuck it,” Carroll County head coach Tom Hale said. “We had the first down by five or six yards and we just didn’t take care of the ball. Unfortunately we fumbled and they got it back. I felt like if we had gotten that first down all the momentum was on our side and we were going to score.”
The Cavaliers still nearly had one last chance after apparently stopping Tazewell for a loss on a 4th and 2 in their own territory. A facemask penalty gave the Bulldogs the first down, however, allowing them to run out the clock from there.
“We stopped them dead and would have got the ball back but the official called a facemask. It’s hard to tell what he saw on film, especially from where he was standing,” Hale said. “It just seems like we’re snakebit and can’t get over the top. It’s hard to put your finger on. We seem like we just can’t get a break. I think we had six holdings penalties called on us and two pass interference penalties. I’m not making excuses, but when you go on the road and you have that many major penalties called against you, it will be hard to win no matter how good you are. Again, I thought our kids played extremely hard. We just had some bad breaks and some inopportune penalties.”
Carroll County led 20-6 midway through the third quarter after falling behind early. McReynolds, who led both teams with 185 yards rushing, put Tazewell in front 6-0 with a 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Cavs evened things up later in the quarter when Kody Alley scooted past the Tazewell defense on a 40-yard touchdown run.
Carroll went ahead in the second quarter on Patrick Davis’ 7-yard scoring scamper. Lundy then connected with Chris Smoot on the 2-point conversion to give the Cavs a 14-6 lead at the half.
Carroll increased its advantage to 20-6 in the third quarter on Lundy’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Case. After a 3-yard McReynolds touchdown kept the Bulldogs within one score, the Cavs answered as Lundy connected on a flag route to Alley, who busted it for a 69-yard touchdown reception. The kick failed, leaving Carroll ahead 26-13.
McReynolds’ third touchdown came late in the third quarter, this time on a 2-yard run, to pull the Bulldogs within six points at 26-20. A pass interference penalty on Carroll, followed by a Tazewell pass completion, set up McReynolds’ go-ahead score from four yards out midway through the fourth quarter.
“We had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of,” Hale said.
Lundy completed 10-of-14 passes for 205 yards to lead the Cavaliers, while Alley rushed for 73 yards on eight carries and caught a 68-yard touchdown reception. Case hauled in four passes for 48 yards for Carroll and Ethan Underwood also had a 51-yard reception.
Carroll6 8 12 0 - 26
Tazewell 6 0 14 7 - 27
T - McReynolds 4 run (kick failed)
CC - Alley 40 run (pass intercepted)
CC - Davis 7 run (Smoot pass from Lundy)
CC - Case 6 pass from Lundy (run failed)
T - McReynolds 3 run (McReynolds kick)
CC - Alley 69 pass from Lundy (kick failed)
T - McReynolds 2 run (McReynolds kick)
T - McReynolds 4 run (McReynolds kick)
RUSHING – Alley 8-73, Davis 10-13, Au. Smith 8-19, Dillon 3-6, Lundy 2-minus 2.
PASSING – Lundy 10-14-0 205 yds.
RECEIVING – Case 4-48, Smoot 2-25, Alley 1-68, E. Underwood 1-51, Au. Smith Dillon 1-11, Au. Smith 1-2.