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Seven-straight seasons of frustration for the Owen County Rebels ended Friday night. Joey Wood scored a pair of touchdowns and the Rebels’ defense again played well as Owen County defeated Carroll County 27-6 for its first win in the rivalry since 2002.
“It feels really good,” Tyler Pruitt said after the game in a jubilant Owen County locker room. “We beat Gallatin, Trimble and Carroll County all in the same year.”
The Rebels took the opening kickoff and marched down the field. The drive culminated with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Wood. The extra point was missed and the Rebels had a 6-0 lead with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
On the Panthers’ first play, Merrill Creech intercepted a pass to set up the Rebels’ offense once again.
The ensuing drive ended when the Rebels could not convert on fourth down and gave the ball back to Carroll County.
The Panthers then made another mistake when on fourth down the snap from center went over the head of the punter and into the end zone for a safety, giving Owen County an 8-0 advantage with 3:13 left in the first quarter.
The Rebels didn’t waste much time in scoring again.
Early in the second quarter, Cody McDaniel hooked with Pruitt on a simple screen pass that Pruitt took 28 yards for a touchdown. Following a failed 2-point conversion, the Rebels led 14-0.
For the rest of the first half, the Rebels continued to dominate the time of possession and appeared to be heading into the locker room with a 14-0 lead.
That was until Carroll County quarterback Andy Sisenstein ran 75 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the half.
Despite having the ball for 15:50 seconds in the first half, the Rebels allowed the Panthers to stay in the game with that late score.
The mood in the Rebels’ locker room was positive, Owen County High School Head Football Coach Adam Fowler said.
“(The Owen County players) were positive,” Fowler said. “They knew that Carroll County had only four yards of offense until that play.”
The score remained the same throughout the third quarter and for a good part of the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final quarter, Wood stripped the Carroll County quarterback of the ball and raced 27 yards for a Rebels touchdown.
“I just punched it out and ran,” Wood said. “It was perfect.”
Again the extra point was missed, but Owen County had a 20-6 lead and the momentum.
The Rebels tacked on a late score when McDaniel went into the end zone from 3 yards out.
This time, Justin Davis drilled the extra point and Owen County had a 27-6 lead and eventual win.
The win was the first district win for the Rebels in the three years since the new alignment had been put in place.
The victory improved the Rebels to 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the district.
The third straight loss for the Panthers dropped their overall record to 5-3 and the district record to 0-2.
The victory now sets up a pivotal match-up next Friday night against Christian Academy of Louisville, which lost Friday night to DeSales. The winner Friday night will host a first-round playoff game.
“It is a big week of practice,” Fowler said.
The Centurions have switched to the option this season and Fowler knows it will be important for his players to know their assignments and then stick with them.
“Practice will be the key.” Fowler said.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Louisville.