Carbondale Terriers Bryan Lee’s new spread offense was a little cranky during Friday’s 21-6 win over their Jackson County rival, the Murphysboro Red Devils.
The spread is viewed by many as an offensive pepper-upper, but if it isn’t done correctly, it leads to a lot of three and outs. The latter situation occurred frequently for the Terriers (1-0) Friday. In the first half, Murphysboro’s Wing-T offense obtained just as many first downs as the throwing offense of the Terriers. Carbondale and Murphysboro both had an anemic six first downs in the first two quarters and about 100 offensive yards each.
Lee choose to install the spread because if the team has athletes who can run fast and catch the ball in space, mismatches tend to happen.
Carbondale did that a few times in this close game, and when they did, it led to scores. Carbondale went ahead 7-0 on a 11-yard run at the beginning of the second quarter by Courtney Hunter.
The scoring drive took only three plays to go about 56 yards. The drive included a 44-yard pass from Terrier quarterback Seth Germann to Hunter, who scored his second touchdown of the night. Germann finished the night with 211 yards passing with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Hunter’s running mates at the wide receiver position were also problems for the Murphysboro defense. Senior Jaden Bradley had 55 yards receiving and junior Jakeba Burleigh had 80 yards. Bradley hauled in the second touchdown of the night on a seven-yard pass from Germann at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
However, the Red Devils had the biggest problem keeping in check.
Just after a Murphysboro score to cut the lead to 14-6 in Carbondale’s favor, Hunter took the kickoff, made one move to the left to avoid a tackler, and took off through the teeth of the Red Devil’s special teams crew on his way to an 84-yard touchdown return to seal the game from the Terriers.
After the contest, Lee said due to the time left in the game and only being down one score, he expected an onside kick from Murphysboro. So, he had his hands team on the field for the Hunter return.
“When I saw Murphy doing their regular kick-off, I felt like an idiot for having my hands team in,’ Lee said. “But the hands team did the best job of blocking in the game.”
While Carbondale was showcasing a new offense, it was the Terrier defense who played big Friday. Carbondale’s defense stopped three Red Devil drives inside the Terrier red zone. One drive ended on a tackle at the one-yard line, and another with an interception at the goal line.
“We played well on defense except for a few plays in the fourth quarter. Our defenders were gassed from being on the field so long,” Lee said. “But, on the whole, our pursuit and speed save the day.”
Carbondale now hits the road to Granite City. The Warriors defeated the Terriers 33-14 last year in Carbondale.