As the Carlisle High School football team headed to the locker room at halftime Friday night, coach Mike Brown went through a checklist of what needed to be addressed.
He came up with one thing — defense.
The Indians had given up 235 yards to Waynesville and clung to a 35-23 lead in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division opener for both teams at Laughlin Field.
“I didn’t think they had played as hard as they could, and I challenged our seniors to step up in the second half,” Brown said after the Indians won 49-30 to improve to 3-1.
Carlisle scored on its first two drives of the second half, and the defense held Waynesville to 122 yards.
For the Spartans, it was a constant reminder of the two-step the youthful WHS squad has been going through. Two steps forward, one step back.
“You see we have the piece. It is just a matter of putting the puzzle together for four quarters,” Waynesville coach Scott Jordan said after his team fell to 0-4 and dropped its seventh consecutive SWBL Buckeye game. “Last week we played 3.8 quarters. We played well in the first half, and we’ve been like that. We will play a good half or a good quarter, but we can’t put it together for four quarters.”
The Indians, normally a big-play offense, chewed close to five minutes off the clock to open the second half on a 10-play, 65-yard match. Quarterback Jake Moore scored from 1 yard out for a 42-23 lead.
D.J. Chambers busted loose down the sidelines for a 48-yard gain for the Indians on their next possession before scoring on an 18-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“We got the ball and drove it, which is different for us,” Brown said. “We usually have big plays and not many long sustained drives, and I think that settled us back down a little bit.”
The big plays came in the first half as Moore scored on a 64-yard run for the first TD of the game and a quick 7-0 lead for the Indians. Waynesville, however, came back with a 18-yard scoring strike from Anthony Carmichael to Avery Collins to knot the game.
“Avery is a big-play threat for us when we get him the ball in space,” Jordan said. “Carmichael played his butt off. He got beat up and kept getting up and leading his team.”
After Moore broke the ice, the two teams scored on their next four possessions with Carlisle clinging to a 21-20 lead thanks to a missed extra point.
After the Spartans cut the deficit to 27-23, Carlisle needed less than a minute to get Chambers in the end zone for a 35-23 lead at the break.
“D.J. is a great player,” Jordan said. “I think we took a step this week. We are seeing the growth that you expect in a young team.”
Carmichael led the Spartans with 113 yards on 24 carries and 225 yards in the air, with Collins hauling in six balls for 113 yards.
Carlisle finished with 385 of its 409 yards on the ground. Chambers had 12 carries for 157 yards, while Moore added 117 yards on 10 carries.
“We have some very good teams to get ready for,” Brown said. “We can’t look ahead. We have to concentrate on who is in front of us, and tonight I am proud of the defense to go out and do what they did in the second half.”
Next Friday, Carlisle travels to Northridge and Waynesville visits Dixie.
C: Jake Moore 64 run (Ande Allison kick)
W: Avery Collins 18 pass from Anthony Carmichael (Cam Anderson kick)
C: Spencer Mays 3 run (Allison kick)
W: Carmichael 2 run (Kick failed)
C: Ryan Neal 5 run (Allison kick)
W: Josh Daniels 2 run (Anderson kick)
C: Neal 2 run (Kick failed)
W: Anderson 22 field goal
C: D.J. Chambers 8 run (Mays run)
C: Moore 1 run (Allison kick)
C: Chambers 18 run (Allison kick)
W: Parker Struewing 39 pass from Carmichael (Anderson kick)
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