Carrollton’s defense came to play Friday night in the first round of the Division IV Region 15 playoffs.
The No. 7 Warriors played host to the No. 10 Cambridge Bobcats Friday night. It was a tight game until late, as Carrollton defended their home turf with a 37-21 victory over the visiting Bobcats.
Carrollton senior QB Austin Colletti made plays on offense and defense for the Warriors, scoring on a five-yard QB keeper to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead after the failed two-point try with 11:22 left in the second quarter. On defense, he snagged two interceptions in the first half.
Carrollton junior Chase Oehlstrom extended the Warriors’ lead to 14-0 with a three-yard run later in the second quarter followed by a two-point conversion.
With 2:08 left in the opening half of the game, Cambridge QB Caden Moore scored on a two-yard run to cut the Warriors lead to 14-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball was fumbled by the Carrollton returned and recovered by Cambridge. The Bobcats marched down the short field and capitalized on the takeaway when Moore connected with Jake Valentine in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14 with 1:02 remaining in the second quarter.
“Our kids hung in there, we didn’t panic. We didn’t make a whole lot of changes offensively, we just stayed with the stack,” said Carrollton Head Coach Jim Tsilimos. “We do what we do best, which is block.”
Fast forward to the second half, Carrollton’s defense made one of the biggest plays of the night after the offense turned the ball over on downs at the 1-yard-line, unable to score.
As Cambridge QB Moore rolled out to the left in his own end zone, Carrollton senior nose guard Alex Johnson tracked him down for a sack/safety to put the Warriors ahead 16-14 with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter.
In a game that they would never trail, Carrollton broke the tie and would never trail again thanks to touchdowns from fullback Cameron Crider, Austin Colletti and Hunter Henry.
With the win, the Warriors will travel to St. Clairsville to take on the Red Devils in the second round of the playoffs. St. Clairsville and Carrollton faced off at Community Field to open the season in August. The Red Devils handed the Warriors a heartbreaking loss with a minute left in the contest. Carrollton is hoping to learn from their week 1 mistakes and walk away victorious in this much anticipated rematch.
“They’re a good team,” said Carrollton defensive coordinator Storm Hill when discussing the rematch with St. Clairsville. “Their left tackle is going to Ohio State, they have very good receivers, a good run game but I’m really looking forward to getting that shot again. We knew week one they were a very good team, a playoff caliber team, but it’s definitely a matchup we are looking forward to.”