The Carey football machine kept rolling along Friday night as the Panthers won a 60-12 Sawtooth Conference game over the Murtaugh Red Devils.
Spotting the host Red Devils an early 6-0 lead, Carey (6-1, 5-0 league, 44.9 points a game) exploded for 38 points in the first quarter alone then added one touchdown in each of the final three periods to finish a season-best 60-point scoring night.
Head coach Lane Kirkland said, "We had a week off and started slow, but Blake Whitby's 87-yard kickoff return got us going and things started clicking. There was a lot of football in the first quarter (when 50 points were scored)."
Whitby (75 rushing yards) scored two of the first three touchdowns for Carey. Connor Rivera (11 carries, 149 yards) added an 80-yard TD gallop that put Carey ahead 46-12 at intermission. And quarterback D.J. Simpson threw for two TDs.
Carey out-rushed Murtaugh (2-5, 1-4 league) by a 364-185 margin. Leading Carey on defense were Allen Peck (12 tackles, 9 assists), Heith Adamson (11/7) and Whitby (11/7). The Red Devils made five turnovers to help Carey's cause.
After winning its fifth consecutive game, Carey resumes its quest for the State 1A Division 2 eight-man football championship with a home Sawtooth Conference game against the North Gem Cowboys Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at Derrick Parke Memorial Field.
The Panthers have a score to settle after falling in last year's state playoff first round to the visiting Cowboys 48-44. The Panthers have won five of the last eight meetings with North Gem, but the Cowboys still hold a 12-10 lead in the grid series dating back to 1985.
Meanwhile, Camas County of Fairfield (3-4, 2-3 league) continued its late-season drive for a state berth with a 42-14 home league victory over North Gem last Friday. It was the third consecutive win for Camas, which lost its first three league games but has averaged 48.3 ppg in its current win streak.
If Carey beats North Gem Friday and the Cowboys lose their Oct. 27 home finale to Dietrich (3-4, 3-2 league), the Mushers will sneak into the playoffs as the fourth seed and will play Carey in the opening round Nov. 3 on the Carey field.
Dietrich, in that case, would be the third seed because of its 38-36 win at Fairfield Sept. 15 and would travel to #2-seeded Mackay (6-1, 4-1) Nov. 3.
If Carey beats North Gem Friday, assuming Camas wins out over Richfield and Rockland and if the Cowboys beat Dietrich Oct. 27, there will be a three-way 4-3 tie between North Gem, Dietrich and Camas—and there will be an Oklahoma/Kansas shootout Monday, Oct. 30 at a neutral site to settle the #3 and #4 seeds.