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A great deal was on the line when the Owen County High School football team got on the bus Friday evening and headed to Carrollton.
The Rebels and Panthers both had hopes of moving a step closer to a No. 2 seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Just minutes into the game, it appeared the Rebels were still on the bus.
Carroll County took the opening kickoff and returned it for a touchdown for the early 7-0 lead.
The Panthers would then intercept an Adam Hazlett pass to set up another scoring drive and Carroll County was out to a 14-0 advantage.
The Rebels were stunned.
“I felt shell shocked,” Owen County High School Head Football Coach Adam Fowler said.
Owen County had an answer.
On the ensuing drive, Collin Trammel found put the Rebels on the board with a 48-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-7.
Not to be outdone, the Panthers would score again but would not convert the extra point to push their lead to 20-7.
Still in the first quarter, the Rebels would again score when Trammel took a handoff and raced 71 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
The senior would then go in for the 2-point conversion on the fake field goal to make the score 20-15 after the first 12 minutes.
The scoreboard operator would continue to get a workout in the second quarter as Hazlett connected with Paul Banks for a 63-yard touchdown and then another short pass to Nathaniel Shadler for yet another score giving Owen County a 29-20 lead.
Another Carroll County rushing touchdown cut the lead to 29-27 before Nathan Rivera drilled a 36-yard field goal before halftime to give the Rebels a 32-20 lead.
“I was really proud of our kids,” Fowler said.
The Owen County coach said it was the first time this season he saw the kids get upset and do something about their situation.
“They responded and fixed things,” Fowler said.
The third quarter was more of the same for the visitors as Trammel scored his third touchdown of the game to push the lead to 39-27.
A Panther TD cut the deficit to 39-34 before the Rebels added touchdowns by James Stone and Chris Smith to make the score 52-34 and essentially put the game away heading into the fourth quarter.
Owen County would add one final score when Collin Beckham came down with a Hazlett pass for a score to push the advantage to 59-34.
Carroll County would add a late touchdown to make the final margin 59-41.
The win improves the Rebels to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in district play while keeping their hopes alive of being the No. 2 seed and hosting a first-round playoff game.
The Panthers fall to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the district.
The loss means Carroll County will be the No. 3 seed in playoffs and will have to open the playoffs on the road.
Owen County can clinch the No. 2 seed on Friday night when they host Gallatin County at Patterson Field.
The Wildcats are 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the district. A win would give them the No. 2 seed heading into the playoffs.
Gallatin County did not play on Friday night thanks to a bye.
Needless to say Friday night will be an important game for both teams.
“It’s huge,” Fowler said. “It means a home playoff game.”
If it happens, it would be just the third one in the last 30 years.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.