A year after they lit up the scoreboard in a double-overtime thriller, Waynesville and Carlisle again found themselves playing an extra period. This time, though, it was a defensive struggle that led the game to overtime, and it was Carlisle emerging victorious.
Carlisle took advantage of a late-game blocked punt and two touchdowns by senior Ryan McLaughlin, escaping Waynesville with a 14-7 win.
It was far from the fireworks-filled game that saw the teams combine for 97 points last season. Waynesville had four first downs while Carlisle turned the ball over four times.
But that was of little concern for Indians coach Bill Jewell.
“What’s that saying? Any win is a good win,” said Jewell, whose team dominated statistically but was nearly undone by turnovers and stalled drives. “Our defense, we got them in some bad situations and they just played their hearts out.”
After going scoreless for the first 43 minutes, 39 seconds, Carlisle (3-1) blocked a Waynesville punt and recovered the ball at the 1-yard line, with McLaughlin plowing in one play later to knot the score at 7-7. The Indians got the ball back quickly and nearly won in spectacular fashion, but a Hail Mary pass from junior Levi Boyer caromed off Jai Milton’s hands as regulation expired.
Carlisle got the ball back immediately to start overtime, with McLaughlin rumbling for seven yards on a crucial third-and-four before rumbling in from the five. Despite totaling 99 yards in regulation, Waynesville (2-2) had a chance to tie it. But third- and fourth-down passes from sophomore Troy Black to his brother Ty, with whom he’d connected for a go-ahead 7-yard score midway through the fourth quarter, fell short.
The close win was sweet redemption for Carlisle, which lost to Waynesville last season, 49-48, after failing on a two-point conversion in double-overtime.
“We talked about it. We wanted revenge from last year,” Boyer said. “We wanted to make it personal and we did.”