The Trojans dominated all facets of play against third-seeded Stephens County, delivering a first-round drumming of the Indians behind a 40-7 showing at Grisham Stadium.
“The kicking game was exceptional. Offensively, we did a lot of really good things, made some big plays. We ran the ball well, threw the ball well and made some good reads. Defensively, other than the one drive that they had, the rest of the time we pretty much shut them down. We did a great job staying on top of the receiver [T’omas Colbert]. Duffee Dortch and others stayed on top of him like they were supposed to. They tried to go to him two or three times, but we always had him covered. Just a pretty complete game,” Trojan coach Rayvan Teague said.
Second-seeded Carrollton (8-3), which will now travel to top-seeded and second-ranked Marist (10-1) next Friday, scored on four of its five first-half possessions to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room and proceeded to put the game away in the second half, getting a safety and third-quarter touchdown to build a comfortable 33-7 advantage before tacking on the final score early in the fourth.
The Trojan defense shut down the Indians’ trio of senior play-makers, with running back Chaz Thornton, quarterback Dionte Mayfield and Colbert doing little to no damage all evening.
Stephens County (8-3) didn’t record a first down until early in the second quarter and had just four by the half. The Indians wouldn’t crack the 100-yard mark for total offense until the fourth quarter when the Trojans had their reserves in the game. Stephens County finished with just 131 yards of total offense, with Thornton, who had 1,494 yards entering the game, finishing with 62 yards on nine carries. Colbert caught just one pass for three yards and Mayfield was 3-of-10 through the air for 14 yards.
Devin Ferreira was one of the busiest players for Stephens County, punting seven times on the night.
“All week we’ve just been focused. We couldn’t take this opportunity for granted. All week from Monday through Thursday, and even on Friday morning, we were watching film. We knew how good [Thornton] was and how good [Colbert] was. But once you take them two out of the game, their team kind of shuts down,” noted Carrollton senior linebacker Armani Phillips.
Trojan defensive lineman B.J. Addison said the Carrollton coaching staff did a good job of preparing the defense for what it would see on Friday night.
“We knew our keys and we knew we had to focus on the running back and receiver. I think we played well against them and kept them between our standards of what we expected. So I think we played well against their big play-makers,” Addison said.
Offensively, the Trojans gobbled up 400 yards behind a balanced attack — 250 on the ground and 150 through the air — as several different guys did their part when called upon.
Freshman phenom Jarvis Terrell got the scoring started for the Trojans, bursting out with a 55-yard dash to the end zone two minutes and seven seconds into the game for the early 7-0 edge.
After forcing a three-and-out, Carrollton went 67 yards in 12 plays, finding the end zone again on a five-yard Dan Harris run with 2:19 left in the first quarter. The score was set up by a 14-yard pass from Will Hesterlee to Trey Chivers on third-and-10 from the 19 a play earlier.
Both teams then traded three-and-outs before the Indians got on the scoreboard, marching 82 yards in seven plays, getting in on a two-yard Thornton touchdown run to cut the lead in half with 8:04 left in the second quarter.
The Trojans answered with an 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession, going up 21-7 on a 23-yard Malik Sheppard run with 1:41 left in the half.
Carrollton then tacked on a late field goal after getting the ball at its own 34-yard line with 50.6 seconds left and driving all the way down to the 11-yard line, setting up a 29-yard Tyler Newsome field goal with 1.3 seconds left to give the Trojans a 24-7 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a defensive affair, with the Trojans recording a safety with 2:11 left, then hitting a big pass play — a 58-yard touchdown strike from Hesterlee to Chivers — to stretch the score to 33-7 with 1:11 remaining in the third.
Harris’ second touchdown run of the night, this one from two yards out, capped off the scoring with 11:41 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Carrollton wing back Tre Heard said the offense was clicking on all cylinders Friday night, sending the Trojans on a march to Marist next Friday.
“In the locker room, we just got so pumped up. We felt like we could run through a brick wall. We just felt invincible coming out of that locker room. We didn’t care about how good of a team they were. We were just worried about us and executing our game plan,” Heard said.