By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Oct. 23, 2013 — The East Carter football team hosted Fleming County in Class 3A District 6 action last Friday on senior night. Both the Raiders and Panthers were looking to clinch a playoff spot and East was hoping to send their seniors out with a win on their final game in Grayson.
But Fleming used a balanced air and ground attack as the Panthers defeated East Carter 35-23.
The Raiders (2-6) were without several skills players due to injuries. While the run game had its struggles, East was forced to go through the air and they were successful at times. Down 8-0 early in the second quarter, wide receiver Kane Phillips threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Yates to bring East within 8-7.
“The effort was there,” Head Coach Zack Moore said. “With being depleted like we are in some key spots we tried to make some stuff happen but we couldn’t execute consistently.”
The Raiders and Panthers would trade scores in a matter of seconds. Fleming quarterback Jacob Boyd found Aaron James on a 28-yard touchdown. 20 seconds later, senior running back Qua Davis busted through the line on a 59-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, James would run a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to put Fleming ahead 22-14. East would be within two points just before the half after quarterback Zack Cathey threw it as far as he could to find Davis for a 62-yard touchdown.
“Our kids did the best they could,” Moore said. “A lot of them are out of position. Fleming had big physical guys up front and with some of our big guys gone our run game suffered.”
East Carter would then take its only lead of the game early in the third quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Evan Huddle to make it 23-22. East would then recover an onside kick but the drive stalled. After a punt that pinned Fleming on their own 25, Maverick Burnett would run the ball 75 yards on the first play of the drive to put the Panthers ahead for good.
“He’s just a little better than we are in some spots,” Moore said. “We’re not very fast and he’s very athletic and we showed.”
East had several chances to take the lead and held Fleming on a big stand inside the red zone. Peyton Wilburn forced an interception inside the Panther’s 40 yard line with less than six minutes to go but failed to convert on the next drive.
Burnett would do the rest, running 64-yards with 3:22 left to give Fleming County the 12-point victory.
Now East says goodbye to ten seniors who will not play in front of a home crowd in Grayson again.
“We don’t want this to end in a few weeks and unfortunately it looks like it will,” Moore said. “We haven’t had a lot of success but the program has improved. We just need more consistency and to have more four-year players so they can spend time in our system to be successful.”
East Carter will travel to Russell Friday night.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.