GRAYSON East Carter took a three-score lead on Mason County on its first possession of the second quarter on Friday night, but the Royals had plenty of opportunities to cut in closer.

Mason County got to the Raiders’ 33-yard line or deeper on each of its remaining seven possessions. On five of them, the Royals had goal-to-go.

East Carter allowed no points on any of them.

“That was just us being tough,” Raiders senior lineman Bryson Kiser said. “That’s what we’re all about, toughness. We’ve had a lot of goal-line stops this year. We take pride in it.

“Once you get down there, it’s just, who’s gonna be the man?”

East Carter is that man — a region champion — for the first time ever. The Raiders roughed up the Royals, 38-10, for their first victory at this stage in school history.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Charlie Terry flowed right behind East Carter’s offensive line, picked his hole and was gone 65 yards to the house. One play. Nine seconds. Six points.

“I just knew,” Kiser said. “That’s Charlie Terry, and as soon as he touches the ball, magic happens.”

The Raiders’ senior stud back kept on going for 231 yards and four TDs on 18 carries.

“We talked about that, we’re gonna dance with the horses that got us here,” East Carter coach Tim Champlin said. “Charlie Terry’s been a key piece to our offense, and we’re gonna continue to ride that and go with that.”

As a team, East Carter rushed for 397 yards — the 3 yards it needed to crack four bills were lost on negative-rushing plays early on — and five touchdowns.

Isaac Boggs chipped in 99 yards on six totes, Kanyon Kozee added 61 yards on six carries and Nikk Barnett punched in a first-quarter TD. That helped as the Royals (9-4) worked to slow Terry after he gashed them for 101 yards on his first four rushes.

“(East Carter) did a good job killing us at the point of attack there and just moving us a little bit,” Mason County coach Joe Wynn said. “It took us a second to adapt to the speed of the game. I thought we stayed too stagnant in the first half, especially the first quarter, and didn’t adjust enough.”

The Royals eventually did. Barnett’s 3-yard run at the 8:50 mark of the first quarter and Kozee’s two-pointer put East Carter up, 14-0, but Mason County turned to a quick passing game behind quarterback Keshaun Thomas and receiver Terrell Henry to move the ball.

Brady Sanders turned in a 4-yard scoring plunge to get Mason County within one possession, and the Royals forced the Raiders into third-and-5 at their own 30 on the ensuing drive.

But Kozee converted it with a 12-yard scramble. East Carter went from worrying about finding enough room to comfortably punt, Champlin said, to scoring again in a span of five plays as Terry broke the plane from 3 yards away.

“I thought we did a really good job there of getting that first down and then going and scoring and opening it up,” Champlin said. “Once we got there, it was like we never looked back. We just kept going and grinding away at it.”

Concurred Terry: “We didn’t play our best defensive game, but we stepped up on offense and kept driving.”

Terry’s third touchdown run, a 13-yarder, and Connor Goodman’s catch of a deflected Kozee pass for the two-point conversion lifted East Carter in front 30-10 with 7:24 to go in the second frame. Mason County assembled a series of promising drives after that, but couldn’t score on any of them.

Of the Royals’ final seven possessions, five ended on downs in goal-to-go situations, one concluded on a lost fumble and one expired as the first half did.

“I don’t know what the magic is down there, but I think our kids have played extremely well in the red zone,” Champlin said. “It’s frustrating sometimes watching (opponents) get there. But our kids ... that was huge.”

The Raiders’ Connor Goodman knocked down a pair of potential touchdown passes on Mason County’s second-to-last drive of the second quarter. His younger brother, Evan Goodman, batted one away on the Royals’ next trip, and Izack Messer sacked Thomas on the next play to end the half.

“At halftime, we said, ‘Hey, we score; make them flinch,’” Wynn said. “We just never got there. We had the opportunities, drove up and down, had to put the pressure back on them, and they stood up.

“We just never took advantage of opportunities there, and they don’t flinch either.”

East Carter sealed it on Terry’s 84-yard scoring run and Kozee’s two-point plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Raiders (11-3) tied the school record for wins set in 1989 in addition to claiming their first region hardware. They will host Belfry, a 41-20 winner at Bell County on Friday, at Steve Womack Field in the state semis next week thanks to their RPI.

Mason County threw for 265 yards. Thomas passed for 153 of them and Ashton Adams passed for 112 in relief. Adams also kicked a 39-yard first-quarter field goal.

Anthony Bozeman caught five passes for 74 yards, Henry snared four throws for 61 yards, Khristian Walton hauled in five tosses for 60 yards and Isaac Marshall collected three receptions for 51 yards for the Royals, who played in the region final for the first time since 2013. Mason County was seeking its first win in this round since 2003.

(606) 326-2658 |

zklemme@dailyindependent.com

MASON CO.    10    0    0    0    —    10

E. CARTER    22    8    0    8    —    38

FIRST QUARTER

EC — Charlie Terry 65 run (pass fails), 11:51

EC — Nikk Barnett 3 run (Kanyon Kozee run), 8:50

MC — Brady Sanders 4 run (Ashton Adams kick), 6:27

EC — Terry 3 run (Barnett run), 3:24

MC — Adams 39 FG, :10

SECOND QUARTER

EC — Terry 13 run (Connor Goodman pass from Kozee), 7:24

FOURTH QUARTER

EC — Terry 84 run (Kozee run), 11:47

    MC    EC

First Downs    19    17

Rushes-Yards    30-94    38-397

Comp-Att-Int    21-36-0    6-11-1

Passing Yards    265    62

Fumbles-Lost    4-1    0-0

Punts-Avg.    1-31.0    2-14.0

Penalties-Yards    8-68    6-50

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Mason County rushing: B. Sanders 10-45, Adams 7-41, Walton 4-12, Thomas 8-(-2), Team 1-(-2).

East Carter rushing: Terry 18-231, Boggs 6-99, Kozee 6-61, Barnett 4-9, Team 4-(-3).

Mason County passing: Thomas 12 of 21 for 153 yards, Adams 9 of 15 for 112 yards.

East Carter passing: Kozee 6 of 11 for 62 yards, 1 interception.

Mason County receiving: Bozeman 5-74, Henry 4-61, Walton 5-60, Marshall 3-51, Butler 2-20, B. Sanders 2-(-1).

East Carter receiving: C. Goodman 4-37, Boggs 2-25.

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