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Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Football: A muddy, memorable win for Cavaliers

MANCHESTER — A constant rain and intermittent wind gusts made things difficult on most high school teams throughout the state Friday night.

Footing was an issue. Hands and feet were cold. Players tasked with holding onto the ball had anything but an easy job.

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South Carroll coach Steve Luette knew the conditions would work against his team when it traveled to Manchester Valley. He also knew his guys would remember the game for a long time.

"When you play games like this, in this kind of rain, it's just one of those games that stick in your mind," said the coach, whose squad downed the Mavericks 20-7, taking control of their own destiny in the county title race in the process. "When they go onto play either college or come back years from now, they'll be able to talk about this game and not only did they win it, but they win in these conditions."

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The setting wasn't exactly optimal for two of the county's better passing attacks, yet that didn't seem to stop Cavaliers senior Silas Kelly.

The Maryland commit was a force on both sides of the ball, though a pair of 6-yard touchdown catches in the corner of the end zone from quarterback AJ Linn helped make the difference in the game.

While the South Carroll (4-1, 2-0 county) defense gave up a first-quarter score to the Mavericks, it stood its ground for the next three quarters, limiting any additional offense as the wind continued to whip harder.

Talmadge Eller's fumble recovery on a poor snap deep in Mavericks territory in the second quarter helped shift the momentum toward the visitors sideline, and Jamar Williams and Patrick Kelly each tallied second-half interceptions.

"We played really well on defense," said Williams, who also totaled 52 yards on seven carries out of the backfield as a running back. "Made good hits, good sacks. Our defensive line played really well, linebackers and defensive backs."

Midway through the first quarter, the Manchester Valley (4-1, 1-1) began a drive on its own 21 in what would be their only score of the night.

After already finding bits of success in the passing game, as well as with a heavy dose of Ethan Bare on the ground, the Mavericks didn't deviate much from that plan.

Bare went for 10 yards, followed by a Jake Gerber throw to James Walsh for eight more. Bare then broke an 18-yard run that put the Mavericks in South Carroll territory.

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Two plays later, Gerber hit Chandler Breeden on third-and-7 on a post route that went 39 yards for the score.

The Cavaliers responded two possessions later, driving 77 yards for a score that ended with Linn's first floater in the back right corner of the end zone to the sure-handed Silas Kelly for the score.

"It felt good to finish a play for my team and be able to help us get the win," said the receiver, who joked that he was waiting for Luette to call a play for him like that.

Tied at a score apiece, South Carroll forced a Manchester Valley punt and took over on its own 29 late in the second. A modest Steven Baca run followed by Linn's 7-yard scramble forced a third-and-short.

Linn fumbled the shotgun snap, but quickly scooped it up and surveyed his options. With the pocket closing, the junior evaded Manchester Valley's front, found a seam and ran 62 yards for the score.

"I had no idea what was happening on that play," Silas Kelly said. "He's such an exciting player, shows a lot of promise. He played real well tonight, given the conditions, playing in a hurricane and everything. I'm just real proud of the way he played."

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Linn hit Silas Kelly for his second touchdown in the third quarter, but much of the damage had already been done. Manchester Valley's offense sputtered as it tried to get back in contention, but those two Gerber picks slowed the comeback attempt.

Mavericks coach Tony Shermeyer said his team needs to eliminate the turnovers, but following the loss, he said the program could learn a lot from the experience.

"Obviously the goal is never to lose, but when you do, sometimes it can be a wake-up call and sometimes it can make you work even harder and push yourselves even harder," he said. "Just wish the result would be different. But it's not. We've got to move forward."

South Carroll 0 13 7 0 — 20

Manchester Valley 7 0 0 0 — 7

SCORING SUMMARY

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MV-Chandler Breeden 39 pass from Jake Gerber (Dayne Koontz kick)

SC-Silas Kelly 6 pass from AJ Linn (Jacob Snell kick)

SC-Linn 62 run (kick failed)

SC-Kelly 6 pass from Linn (Snell kick)

UNOFFICIAL STATISTICS

Rushing

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SC- AJ Linn 14-110, Jamar Williams 7-52, Steven Baca 23-31, Joe Malagari 2-(-1), Jacob Snell 1-(-11); MV-Ethan Bare 14-44, Logan Garland 1-0, Jake Gerber 7-(-14).

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Passing

SC-AJ Linn 9-12 170; MV-Jake Gerber 7-15-2 132.

Receiving

SC-Silas Kelly 4-49, Steven Baca 2-29, Patrick Kelly 1-16, Brent McPherson 1-7; MV- Ethan Bare 3-26, James Walsh 3-11. Myers Smith 1-56, Chandler Breeden 1-39.

matt.owings@carrollcountytimes.com

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