Fired up and focused, the Carey School Panthers stayed un-beaten with a 54-8 Sawtooth Conference West Division eight-man football victory at Dietrich Friday night.
Carey (6-0, 3-0 league) pounced on two Blue Devil fumbles in the first period and used a quick-strike rushing attack to build a 32-0 lead after 12-and-a-half minutes.
Early scoring isn’t uncommon for the 2014 Panthers. Carey has out-pointed opponents 268-28 in the first halves of games and still hasn’t allowed a point in the fourth quarter this fall.
Senior quarterback Nate Adamson rushed for a game-high 168 yards and four touchdowns. He completed seven passes for 116 yards including a 71-yarder to junior Joe Parke on a broken play.
Carrying payload effectively was senior running back and co-captain Matt Whitworth.
He ran over Dietrich tacklers for a season-best 98 yards and a touchdown behind the offensive line of center Chris Peck, guards Alex Durtschi and Salvador Ramos, and ends Joe Parke and Derrick Baird.
For the game, Carey rushed 47 times for 476 yards and fin-ished with 621 yards of total offense. The Panthers converted a season-best six of seven two-point conversion tries.
Coach Lane Kirkland said, “Our focus was the best I’ve seen in a long time. When we went over our blocking assignments Thursday, it felt a lot like playoff preparation.
“Our kids really blocked well and our execution was very clean. We knew we could run on them. Any time you get turn-overs and quick scores, it puts you in a good spot.”
He added, “Our defensive players had to stay focused for every single play because we never knew what they were going to run. We had sure tackling, and our defensive backs helped each other with the long stuff and middle balls.
“To keep Dietrich from scoring more than eight points in a game was a great achievement.”
The Panther defense, tackling well and putting pressure on Dietrich senior quarterback Trey Dill, held the Blue Devils to just 14 rushing yards. Dill (23-for-44, 253 yards), was limited to one touchdown pass which came with his team trailing 40-0 late in the second quarter.
In five of its six games, Carey’s defense has allowed only one touchdown or fewer.
At Dietrich, the Panthers made four quarterback sacks and had two fumble recoveries. Joe Parke (9), Adamson (8) and Toby Whitworth (7) led in tackles.
Dietrich (3-3, 0-3) left the field with a three-game losing streak for the first time in five years—its defense yielding twice as many points per game compared to last year’s State 1A Divi-sion 2 third-place campaign for the Blue Devils.
Carey snapped a two-game losing streak to Dietrich teams and won for the first time in Dietrich since 2010.
Defense set the tone early.
Toby Whitworth’s hard tackle on a Trey Dill run caused a fumble that Chris Peck recovered at the Dietrich 31. On the first play, Adamson carried the ball, waited for his blocking to develop and dashed 31 yards to paydirt.
Dill’s look-in passes to sophomore Tanner Ward (12 catches, 143 yards) moved the Devils downfield to the Carey 35 on the home team’s next possession. That’s where Carey’s defense stiffened helped by pressure on the quarterback.
Carey, sticking to a five-man line emphasizing the run, had Matt Whitworth rush for 31 yards including a seven-yard TD during a six-play, 65-yard drive for a 14-0 lead.
On Dietrich’s next try, a Chris Peck sack dislodged the ball and Carey’s Collin Whitby recovered the fumble.
Matt Whitworth straight-armed and rumbled his way for a 19-yard gainer inside the red zone. Adamson did a tricky spin move on a quarterback keeper along the sideline for a 19-yard TD and 24-0 Panther with only seven minutes gone.
The most exciting Carey touchdown came on a third-and-16 play when Dietrich’s defenders seemed to have Adamson pinned down at the sideline on a roll-out pass.
Adamson escaped the Blue Devils pass rush, found some open field and spotted Parke all alone way downfield. He threw 35 yards in the air, Parke catching the aerial at the Dietrich 40 and running home for the 71-yard score.
Carey’s powerful presence and aggressive tone might have gotten the officials looking closer at the Panther players, since they whistled Carey 12 times for 137 yards compared to just 45 yards in penalties drawn by Dietrich.
The delays for penalties, and Dietrich’s reliance on passing, stretched the game out to two-hours-and-45 minutes. But it was a mild autumn night for football between two familiar rivals.
Unfortunately, Carey junior Zach Olsen suffered a broken collarbone at the end of his 35-yard run on the third play of the second half. Replacing him as running back was senior Corban Johnson, who rushed 11 times for 66 yards after half.
“We’ll miss Zach. He hasn’t fumbled all year,” said Kirkland. “Corban got it going when he came in for Zach, and he hit the holes fast.”
Trip to Castleford is next
Friday’s Carey win was a first step on a challenging stretch that will test the Panthers (57.0 ppg offense, 8.3 ppg defense) with 1A Division 2 playoffs two weeks away.
Carey travels to Castleford (4-2, 2-1 league) Friday, Oct. 17 for another Sawtooth West game against a playoff contender. It’s a homecoming for the Wolves, who have played on the road since whipping Rimrock 50-0 Sept. 12.
Friday’s 50-16 Lighthouse Christian Academy home win over Castleford snapped a four-game Wolves win streak and exposed Castleford defensive liabilities (33.7 ppg defense).
Kirkland said, “Castleford will be more physical than Dietrich. They have good running backs operating out of a deep Power-I. It will be a good test for us.”
The Panthers will have neither Olsen nor Johnson as run-ning backs for Castleford, so the Wolves will likely see much of Matt and Toby Whitworth along with Adamson.
Castleford has lost its last four meetings with Carey includ-ing last year’s 62-26 outcome on the Panther gridiron. The teams played at Holt Arena in the state semi-finals in 2011 and 2010, Carey winning 62-16 and 20-6.
The last two times Castleford beat Carey, both in Castleford, were back-to-back 54-8 routs in 2001 and 2002 during coach Kirkland’s first two years at the helm.
The final Panther regular-season game is Oct. 24 at home with Lighthouse Christian (6-0, 3-0), third place in state eight-man in 2013 and second place in 2012 after its 2011 state cham-pionship campaign.
It will be Lighthouse’s first visit to Carey for a varsity foot-ball game, and it might settle the Sawtooth West regular-season championship.
After Oct. 24, the four Sawtooth Conference West qualifiers for the Nov. 1 state play-in games will be established.
Carey—Nate Adamson, 31-yard run (Joe Parke, pass from Adamson); 9:53 1st (8-0 C).
Carey—Matt Whitworth, 7-yard run (Zach Olsen run); 5:19 1st (16-0 C).
Carey—Nate Adamson, 19-yard run (Matt Whitworth run); 2:37 1st (24-0 C).
Carey—Nate Adamson, 37-yard run (Matt Whitworth run); 11:17 2nd (32-0 C).
Carey—Joe Parke, 71-yard pass from Nate Adamson (Derrick Baird, pass from Adamson); 7:06 2nd (40-0 C).
Dietrich—Tanner Ward, 12-yard pass from Trey Dill (Ward, pass from Dill); 3:12 2nd (40-8 C).
Carey—Nate Adamson, 5-yard run (Derrick Baird, pass from Adamson); 11:05 4th (48-8 C).
Carey—Parker Gamino, 8-yard run (pass failed); 4:48 4th (54-8 C).
Rushing—Nate Adamson 15-168 (11.2 yards per carry), 3 1sts, 4 TD; Matt Whit-worth 12-98, 5 1sts, 1 TD, 2 conv.; Corban Johnson 11-66, 2 1sts; Dallin Dilworth 1-59, 1 1st; Zach Olsen 4-54, 2 1sts, 1 conv.; Toby Whitworth 2-23, 1 1st; Parker Gamino 2-8, 1 TD.
Passing—Nate Adamson 7-11, 116 yards, 2 1sts, 1 TD, 3 conv.; Toby Whitworth 0-1.
Receiving—Joe Parke 4-96, 1 1st, 1 TD, 1 conv.; Zach Olsen 1-14, 1 1st; Derrick Baird 2-6, 2 conv.
Kickoff returns—Zach Olsen 1-22; Joe Parke 1-13.
Punt returns—Toby Whitworth 1-3.
All-purpose yardage—Nate Adamson 284.
Fumble recoveries (2)—Chris Peck 1, Collin Whitby 1.
Sacks (4)—Chris Peck and Corban Johnson 1-12; Chris Peck 1-2; Parker Gamino 1-5; Chris Peck, Matt Whitworth and Parker Gamino 1-4.
Tackles (59)—Joe Parke 9, Nate Adamson 8, Toby Whitworth 7, Chris Peck 6, Corban Johnson 6, Dallin Dilworth 6, Collin Whitby 5, Parker Gamino 4, Matt Whitworth 3, Derrick Baird 2, DJ Parke 1, Tanner Mecham 1, Salvador Ramos 1.
Rushing—Trey Dill 9-40, 2 1sts; Jake Smith 1-7, 1 1st; Porter Robertson 6, -7; Garrett Astle 2, -6.
Passing—Trey Dill 23-44, 253 yards, 10 1sts, 1 TD, 1 conv.; Jake Smith 2-2, 14 yards, 1 1st; Garrett Astle 1-1, 15 yards, 1 1st.
Receiving—Tanner Ward 12-143, 6 1sts, 1 TD, 1 conv.; Kyle Perron 3-27, 2 1sts; Porter Robertson 3-28, 1 1st; Garrett Astle 4-58, 1 1st; Ethan McDaniel 2-14, 1 1st; Jake Smith 2-12, 1 1st.
Kickoff returns—Porter Robertson 3-59; Garrett Astle 3-61.
All-purpose yardage—Trey Dill 293.
Fumble recoveries (3)—Braison Norman 2, Tanner Ward 1.
Sacks (1)—Austin Fenstermaker and Braison Norman 1-9.
Tackle leaders (44)—Austin Fenstermaker 14, Porter Robertson 11, Garrett Astle 4, Ethan McDaniel 3, Trey Dill 3, Braison Norman 2, Jake Smith 2, Tanner Ward 2, Lon Page 1, Kade Shaw 1, Alex Hurtado 1.