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A Lights Out 2nd Half Moves Dogs to 5-0

There is nothing quite like Homecoming Friday at Carmi-White County High School. The annual homecoming parade and pep rally kicked off what would be a night full of celebration for the Bulldogs as they hosted the Fairfield Mules at Harrington-Jeffries Sports Complex. 

To say this game was a much anticipated matchup would be an understatement. The Bulldogs had not beaten the Mules since 2012, and most of Southern Illinois knew that Carmi had a legitimate chance to end that drought on Friday. When I say most of Southern Illinois, I mean everyone in Southern Illinois except the good folks of Fairfield. The Mules came out fired up with nothing to lose, and they would give Carmi their first test of the season.

CWC got the ball to start the game. After a couple of first down runs, Carmi would face a 4th and 5 on the Fairfield side of the field. Kurt Simon sent out the Bulldog punt team, and then everything changed. Right before the Bulldogs were set to snap the ball, the lights at HJSC went out. Complete darkness from sideline to sideline. A blown breaker from underneath the bleachers knocked out the stadium lights, a fixable situation, but not without a lengthy delay. 16 and a half minutes later, the lights came back on and it was time to resume play. A CWC punt gave Fairfield the ball at their own 19 yard line, and the Mules would march down the field to take a 6-0 on a 4-yard touchdown run by Luke Sork. For the first time all season, the Bulldogs were behind. 

It took CWC a while to get their mojo back after the delay. On the ensuing drive after the first Fairfield score, the Bulldogs fumbled the football and the Mules recovered. The Bulldog defense would force a three-and-out, and then drive down the field for their first touchdown of the game. Draxytn Aud would find the end zone from 4 yards out, and he would also run in the 2-point play to put Carmi in front, 8-6 with 4:14 to go in the 2nd quarter.

Fairfield however, would score just two plays later. Quarterback, Eric Rodgers, would run the football outside along the Bulldog sideline, break a few tackles and take it into the endzone for a 67 yard touchdown. Fairfield led 12-8 at halftime. 

The numbers don’t do justice for how well Fairfield played in the first half. The Mules used their enormous offensive line to open up holes for their running backs, and they used their enormous defensive line to stuff the Carmi run game. For the first time all season long, Carmi was facing a challenge. 

Despite the struggle in the first half, the Bulldogs came out and completely dominated the 3rd quarter. The Mules offense would go three-and-out on the first possession of the half, and the Bulldogs put together a long drive to take the lead right back, capped off  by a 1-yard sneak in touchdown by Warren Legg. Carmi led 14-12 with 5:17 to go in the 3rd. 

The Bulldog defense came up big once again, forcing the Mules to punt and give the ball to Carmi at the Mules 47 yard line. All the Bulldogs needed was one play to find the end zone. Isaac King took the handoff and left the Fairfield defense in the dust, scoring his 12th touchdown of the year. Aud ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Bulldogs up by two possessions, 22-12 with 3:28 to go in the 3rd.

On the second play of Fairfield’s ensuing drive, the Mules put the ball on the ground, and the Bulldogs recovered. A few plays later, Legg would find the end zone once again on a 1-yard sneak to extend the CWC lead to 30-12 with 1:23 left in the 3rd quarter. 

The Bulldog defense was far from done. Another Fairfield three-and-out gave Carmi great field position, and they took advantage once again. Drax Aud capped off the final scoring drive for CWC with a 6 yard scamper to move the lead to 38-12 with 8:02 to go.

The Mules transitioned to the spread formation in hopes for a quick score, but Rodgers would throw his 2nd interception of the year as he overthrew his receiver, right into the hands of CWC’s Tyler Goemaat. 

The Bulldogs killed the final 7 minutes of clock to put the game on ice and get the win by a final of 38-12. 

This win meant a lot to Carmi-White County. It was the first win over Fairfield in 10 years. The win made the Bulldogs playoff eligible for the 2nd consecutive year. Most notably, it was the 150th win for Kurt Simon as head coach of the Carmi-White County Bulldogs. 

“I’ve just been very blessed to be here,” said Simon. “I’ve had great assistants in the past that joined right into whatever culture I was trying to create, and I’ve been blessed with a lot of great people around me and obviously a lot of great kids.”  “Give all the glory to God.”

Next up for the Bulldogs, another matchup with a struggling team as they travel to Edwards County to face the Lions on September 30th. EC is 0-5 on the year, they fell to Vienna-Goreville in week 5 by a final score of 20-7. The Lions scored their first and only touchdown of the year so far in the loss.

Carmi-White County stats (courtesy of Toby Brown and crew):

Isaac King – 28 carries, 253 yards, 1 touchdown

Draxtyn Aud – 19 carries, 123 yards, 2 touchdowns

Warren Legg – 2 carries, 2 yards, 2 touchdowns

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