OLIVE HILL – West Carter’s football team didn’t play 48 minutes of perfect football Friday.
Don’t tell Bath County that.
After giving up a first-quarter score, the Comets shot past the visiting Wildcats, 26-6.
West Carter coach Daniel Barker was button- popping proud of his team, but he told the Comets in the postgame speech they hadn’t quite peaked.
“No, we haven’t peaked,” Barker said. “We’ve played some really good defense this year, outside of one game, but offensively, we’re nowhere near where we need to be, and we need to continue to work, and try to be more efficient there.”
The Comets (4-2, 2-0 in Class 2A, District 8) were tougher than 150-mile runners trying to scale Colorado’s Pikes Peak in February. They gained 378 yards — quarterback Orry Perry threw for 196 and a touchdown to Blake Mc-Glone.
They had to be. Leading rusher Leetavious Cline went down with a left leg injury a little less than three minutes into the game and did not return.
It didn’t seem to matter much. McGlone ran 10 times for 71 yards, including a 30-yarder a little more than three minutes into the third quarter. Teammate Jackson Bond bested that by a yard with his 72-yard cruise to the Comets’ condo with 5:44 left in the second quarter.
Bath County coach Johnny Poynter said the Comets “just fly to the ball” on defense, and they did. The Wildcats gained just 22 yards for the evening — just five on the ground — and West Carter’s Gage Leadingham picked off two Jacob Easton passes, one for 69 yards and a touchdown just 38 seconds before halftime.
“(Leadingham’s) in his first year with us after taking a couple years off,” Barker said. “ … People just keep testing him; we knew eventually he’d make a big play.”
Barker also called Perry “more of a cerebral quarterback” who’s mostly mastered the runpass option offense. “He was reading defenders, putting the ball in the right spot,” he said.
When Perry heard of Barker’s words, he was neither disconcerted nor the least bit perturbed.
“Ooh,” Perry playfully said. “Fancy.”
You wouldn’t have found the majority of Bath County’s first-stringers if you had looked. Poynter said his Wildcats were similar to an inexperienced West Carter squad in 2017.
“We had, out of 22 starting positions, we had 12 players out, out of the game completely,” Poynter said. “Nobody ever likes to be satisfied with a loss, but, you know, as many freshmen as we had in the game, and for us to be playing on the field with them, I was really proud of our effort.”
Yet there Bath County (2-4, 0-2) was, with a 6-0 lead with four minutes to go in the first quarter after Ryan Leach picked off a Perry pass for a 60-yard score.
If ESPN’s Chris Berman had been in Olive Hill, he might have called Bond’s run “rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin’.” Bond started around left end, recovered after a Wildcat defender around the West 30 and went untouched the rest of the way.
“Once I hit the outside, I had great blocking, so I just busted it,” Bond said.
Bond said folks haven’t seen West Carter at its best. Barker concurs.
“Our kids are tough and resilient,” Barker said. “They just keep playing.”