Early season struggle for ’Jackets
Win-loss records don’t always tell the whole story. Case in point: Carver’s JV football team.
At the mid-point of the season, the Yellowjackets are 2-3. Upon further review, however, it’s clear that Carver is not your typical example of a team struggling to reach the .500 mark.
“I feel great about where we are as a team right now,” said Coach Derrick Sharpe. “We play good defense, and at times, we do well offensively. But mistakes have been our Achilles heel all year. If you don’t take care of the football, you won’t win many games.”
The Jackets suffered back-to-back losses, which, arguably, could have turned out differently. Carver trailed Glenn 28-6 at the half, but rallied to take a 44-41 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the contest. The Bobcats bounced back to win 47-44 on a last-play-of-the game Hail Mary touchdown pass.
In their next game against Mount Tabor, the Jackets had another déjà vu experience. They fell behind by four touchdowns early, and staged a furious comeback. In the end, though, it was too much for Carver to overcome in a 47-28 loss.
The first half was a disaster. Carver had two costly turnovers and the Spartans responded with two quick touchdowns to set the tone for a 27-0 lead.
But with just under a minute left in the half, things started to get interesting.
Running back Rashad Butler weaved his way through traffic on a 68-yard kickoff return to put Carver in excellent scoring position. Two plays later, William Dean threw a six-yard scoring pass to Devin Cross. Tabor led 27-6 at intermission.
Carver, however, was not finished.
The Jackets got maximum mileage out of their passing game in the third quarter. The defense, spearheaded by Jason Walker, DeQua Carter and Steven Brogdon, held steady. In the meantime, Dean hooked up with Ryan Palmer on a 50-yard touchdown pass. On Carver’s next offensive possession, Butler pulled down an intermediate-range pass from Dean and turned it into a 40-yard touchdown. Hakeem Houpe ran for the PAT and the Jackets cut the deficit to 27-22 with 2:01 left in the quarter.
Mount Tabor slowly began to reassert itself. The Spartans took advantage of good field position and scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Butler added Carver’s final touchdown of the night on an 80-yard pass reception from Dean.
“At halftime, I kept telling my teammates that we could do it (make a comeback),” said Butler, who had four catches for 190 yards. “None of us were going to quit. We just had to keep playing hard. We’ll do better next time and come back stronger than before.”
Sharpe is excited about his team’s potential. After playing an early-season schedule filled with Class 3-A and 4-A schools, he’s confident that Carver (Class 2-A) will be well prepared to compete on equal terms against conference opponents in the PAC 6 2-A.
“I love this team, they are a resilient bunch,” he said. “At halftime against Mount Tabor, they got themselves motivated. All they wanted to do was give themselves a chance to win. They did that, but in the end, there were too many mistakes.”