Greenville rallies to stun Cavaliers, 35-28
GREENVILLE (Oct. 26, 2017) – Christian Moss and the Greenville Comets overcame a 14-point third quarter deficit to hand Carlinville football its first loss to end the regular season, 35-28 Friday at Don Strout Field.
Carlinville finishes 8-1 on the regular season, tied with Pana for the South Central Conference title, and received a number five seeding in the class 3A IHSA playoffs which start this weekend.
The Cavies will host East Alton-Wood River (7-2) in a rematch of last year’s first-round matchup. CHS won that game 76-19 en route to a trip to the state title game. Game time from Carlinville is 7 p.m. Friday.
Carlinville football was also dealing with the sudden passing of one of its own earlier in the week, when athletic trainer Bryan Huff suddenly passed away at age 47. The team wore decals on the back of the helmets and had placed a memorial on the bench. A moment of silence was held prior to the start of the game.
Carlinville, which had won 13 straight regular season games in the SCC, had some uncharacteristic mistakes in the second half, and could not corral Moss, a 2,000-yard rusher who ran for 272 yards and three touchdowns as Greenville (7-2) rallied to get the win. The Comets will face Sesser-Valier on the road this weekend in the postseason.
“You’re not going to shut him down,” said Carlinville head coach Chad Easterday. “He’s the best back in the conference. But, the second half we didn’t help ourselves. We pinned ourselves deep twice, didn’t catch the football – those types of things. You can’t do that against a real good time like this and win.”
Greenville took the early lead at 6-0 on a 67-yard touchdown pass from Wil Harnetiaux to Isaac Green with 9:55 left in the opening quarter.
The Cavaliers trailed for the first time in a while, but not for long.
Jarret Easterday’s first play from scrimmage in the game was a 65-pass across the middle of the field to a wide open Kyle Dixon, who took it to the house. The Cavies led 7-6.
Carlinville stopped the Comets and forced a punt, then drove 38 yards in seven plays to grab a 14-6 lead on a Colton DeLong one-yard touchdown run. That came with 3:48 left in the opening quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Comets took advantage of a short punt and terrific return up field to spot the ball at the Cavies 37-yard line.
On fourth down and four, Moss erupted along the left sideline and scored on a 31-yard touchdown run. He added the two-point run and the game was tied with 5:03 left in the half.
It didn’t stay tied for long, as Carlinville regained the lead on a 41-yard drive. Tucker Hughes had a 30-yard scamper to set up his own two-yard touchdown run with 3:54 left in the half.
The Cavies could not get another score late in the half, and went to halftime up 21-14.
Both teams scuffled early in the third quarter, with neither team moving the ball on the first two drives.
Carlinville took possession with 7:20 left in the third quarter, proceeding to drive 68 yards in eight plays to gain a 28-14 advantage.
It was J.Easterday to Dixon on passes of 8 and 26 yards setting up a first and 10 at the Comets 20-yard line. From there, J. Easterday with a run straight up the middle found the end zone with 4:41 left in the third.
Moss and company came right back, with a 65-yard touchdown run following the kickoff, making it 28-21 with 4:29 left in the quarter.
The Comets then twice went for an onsides kick. The first was an offsides penalty. But the second was successful, and seemed to change momentum in the game.
The Comets drove for a game-tying 52-yard touchdown drive, with Moss doing the bulk of the work, although it would be Hunter Matthews’ five-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left in the third which would tie the game 28-28.
The Cavaliers again were held early in the fourth quarter, but the Comets then drove 50 yards before being held to a punt, taking some 5:18 off the clock.
The Cavaliers were stalled once again, forced into a punt with 4:01 to play. A botched snap led to Easterday covering the ball up at the Carlinville 13 yard-line with 4:01 to play.
Moss ran it in from five yards out two plays later, and Greenville led 35-28 with 3:16 to play.
Carlinville hadn’t been in this situation before this season, forced to score late in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers dropped several passes on its final drive of the game, including a nicely thrown ball down the left sideline of the field which went off the fingertips of the receiver.
The Cavies turned the ball over on downs with 1:19 left to play, and the Comets ran out the clock.
“Last year we were 8-1 too, so maybe losing a game now is better than losing a game two weeks from now, or a week from now,” C.Easterday said.
J.Easterday completed 17 of 29 passes for 168 yards and a score. Dixon caught 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Hughes rushed for 58 yards on 12 caries and a touchdown.
The Cavaliers had 15 first downs to 16 for Greenville, and converted six of 13 third downs to 3 of 11 for the Comets. Greenville held a 25:04 to 22:56 edge in time of possession.
Harnetiaux completed four of 10 passes for 69 yards and a score, while Green had two catches for 70 yards for los Comets.
Defensively, Dixon and Garrett Campbell each had 11 tackles, while Will Kincaid and Max Rogers had nine tackles each.
Getting ready for postseason, the Cavies mustn’t remember this game for long.
“I think you have to have short memories,” C.Easterday said. “We have a lot of positive things that come from tonight – fix the negatives, as always – but Monday’s Monday and we’ll start with practice and see how it goes.”
C.Easterday also said he addressed the team about the sudden passing of Huff during the week.
“I think the greatest statement that was said was that Bryan would want us to move on,” C.Easterday said. “In life, those things happen all the time and you have to talk about those adversities and be open and honest with them.