Saturday, September 07, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle rolls up big early lead, wins

Leader sportswriter

The Carlisle Bison couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start to the 2013 season under first-year coach Brandon Barbaree as they found the end zone on three of their first four possessions en route to a 46-20 win over McCrory in nonconference action Friday night at Fred C. Hardke Field in Carlisle.

Senior running backs Bo Weddle, DeRon Ricks and Justice Bryant paced the Bison backfield throughout Friday night’s game, and each of those three combined to score the first three touchdowns, which helped Carlisle to build an early 22-0 lead.

“We hit some plays early and I think we were a little quicker off the ball early,” said Barbaree. “Offensively, we were crisp and I’ll take that for the first one.”

Ricks found the end zone first, scoring on a 47-yard run, which was just the fourth play of the game’s opening drive. Weddle punched in the two-point conversion to give the Bison an early 8-0 lead, and Weddle found the end zone on the next offensive series, scoring on a 45-yard run.

Senior quarterback Austin Reed then connected with his twin brother Braden in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 16-0 Bison. Carlisle turned the ball over on downs its next possession, but the offense scored on just the third play of the following possession, thanks to a 64-yard touchdown run by Bryant. The conversion attempt was no good, leaving the score 22-0.

McCrory’s offense finally put together a solid drive in the second quarter. The Jaguars went 67 yards in 16 plays and scored on a 1-yard run by sophomore quarterback Cade Campbell. The PAT was no good to leave the score 22-6.

Barbaree said a key injury on the defensive line in the second quarter likely had a lot to do with McCrory’s offensive resurgence.

“As the game wore on we had an injury. Our big D-tackle, Jacob Cagle, hurt his elbow. I think with the (lack) of depth on the line, especially the defensive line, they (McCrory) were able to control the pace of the game in that second quarter, and it kind of went into the second half where we couldn’t stop them.”

Carlisle was able to get a clutch score before the end of the first half as Austin Reed found his brother Braden again on a 39-yard strike down the sideline with 18 seconds to play in the half. Ricks plowed it in for the two points to give the Bison a 30-6 halftime lead.

The Jaguars were the first to score in the second half. With 4:57 to play in the third quarter, senior running back Drake Files made it a 30-12 game after he scored on a 6-yard run that capped a nine-play drive.

Carlisle (1-0) responded its next possession with another touchdown run by Ricks, this one from 12 yards out. Austin Reed then completed a pass to Weddle for the two-point conversion that pushed the Bison lead back to a comfortable 38-12 margin.

McCrory (0-1) added another score at the start of the fourth quarter on a 23-yard pass play when Campbell found a wide-open Dalton Williams behind the Carlisle secondary. Files ran in the two-point conversion to cut the margin to 38-20.

The Bison, however, put the final nail in the coffin with 6:53 to play in the fourth quarter. Weddle broke free on a sweep down the visiting sideline that resulted in a 26-yard touchdown. Austin Reed took the quarterback keeper in for the final two points, setting the final score.

“For the first game you’re going to see some different stuff,” Barbaree said. “We got to see some kids play that have not played a real football game. The guys we’re counting on, sophomores and juniors that have not been in real games, and they just played 60, 70 plays. So we’re going to get a lot of film and see a lot of things to correct.

“The effort was great. You never have to worry about effort with these guys. You know, execution wasn’t always what we wanted it to be, but you always want to get that first one, and it’s good to get it out of the way.”

The Bison outgained the Jaguars’ offense, putting together 462 total yards. McCrory finished with 217 yards of offense. Weddle led the Bison backfield with 157 yards rushing on 16 carries with two touchdowns.

Ricks finished with 97 rushing yards on 14 carries. He also scored two touchdowns, while Bryant finished with 84 yards rushing and one touchdown on six carries. Austin Reed was 6 for 7 passing for 99 yards and one touchdown. Braden Reed had four receptions for 87 yards and a score.

The Bison will try and improve their record to 2-0 next Friday when they travel to Mountain Pine for another nonconference game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.