After a bye week, the Carey School Panthers will resume their quest for the State 1A Division 2 eight-man football championship with a Sawtooth Conference game at Murtaugh Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Carey (5-1, 4-0 Sawtooth Conference, 42.3 points per game) will be favored against a Red Devil squad (2-4, 1-3 league) that is being outscored 32-19 on the average. Murtaugh most recently lost 56-14 to Camas County in Fairfield Sept. 29.
Panther coach Lane Kirkland hopes Sawtooth Conference leader Carey can avoid a letdown and post its fifth consecutive win. Meanwhile, many eyes will be focused on another Friday the 13th game—North Gem against Camas County in Fairfield.
Not only will North Gem (4-2, 3-1 league) be Carey's opponent when the Panthers return home Oct. 20, but late-starting Camas County (2-4, 1-3) is trying to keep its hopes alive for one of four Sawtooth berths in the State 1A Division 2 playoffs.
North Gem, a 24-8 home loser to Mackay Sept. 8, has the toughest schedule in the final three weeks with games at Camas and Carey and its home finale against Dietrich Oct. 27. The Cowboys can clinch the third seed in the playoffs with wins at Camas County and against Dietrich.
If that scenario holds true, it will likely be #1-seeded Carey hosting #4 Dietrich and #2-seeded Mackay entertaining #3 North Gem in the first round of the eight-school State 1A Division 2 playoffs Friday, Nov. 3.
If Camas upsets North Gem, however, a three-way tie knotted at 4-3 records in league is possible for the #3 and #4 seeds between Camas County, North Gem and Dietrich.
There's still a lot of football left.
In the grid series between the two schools, Carey leads 4-1 and has won four straight meetings over Murtaugh including last fall's 62-12 mercy-rule win at Derrick Parke Memorial Field. The Panthers had 338 rushing yards and capitalized on six Red Devil turnovers. Connor Rivera (3 TD) rushed for 118 yards.
Productive rushing attacks have characterized Carey's four victories over Murtaugh including two road wins—38-30 in 2004 (342 rushing yards) and 62-14 in 2001 (312). Murtaugh's only win in the series came in 1991, 27-24 on the Carey gridiron.
Next: Carey will host North Gem Friday, Oct. 20 and has a score to settle after falling in last year's state playoff first round to the visiting Cowboys 48-44.