FLEMINGSBURG Daniel Barker wasn't sure how many West Carter Comets were in uniform Friday – 26 or 27.
Whatever the number, there were enough. West Carter took down Fleming County, 6-0, at Panther Field on Eli Estepp's 25-yard touchdown pass to Cole Crampton with 10:57 left in the third quarter.
The win snapped two losing streaks: it was West Carter's first win at Fleming County since 2015, and it ended a three-game skid to the Panthers from 2016-18. (The Comets and Panthers didn't play from 2019-20.)
What was more, Friday was just West Carter's (1-1) second victory over Fleming County since 2010.
“You were tadpoles,” Barker said in the postgame celebration.
COVID-19 protocols kept West Carter off the practice fields for two weeks before the season started, and a five-day hiatus will sideline the Comets next week.
“We just try to do the best we can for our kids,” Barker said. “I know that our kids believe in what we do. I think if 11 guys are playing the same defense, it goes a long way.”
West Carter won despite gaining only 122 total yards and making just six first downs. The Comets, however, had two big plays: Crampton's 75-yard kickoff return down the left side to open the second half, and “4 Verts,” a pass play in which he circled around right end and deep and Timothy Fields ran a short route, which caught a linebacker off-guard.
The result: no Panthers within a time zone of Crampton.
“That play always tricks (opponents), gets them every time,” Crampton said. “They don't think the running back's going to come out; I gave them a little time to think, and I go right out – and I'm getting wide open for the touchdown."
Crampton also ran for 89 yards.
Fleming County (1-1) had seemingly plenty of offense: Zeke Conn and Landon Johnson combined for 186 yards passing, and the Panthers gained another 86 on the ground. Problem was, the Panthers also had nine penalties for 100 yards.
“Maybe it's my ego talking, but I just feel like … offensively, we're a very talented football team, and I don't expect anybody to shut us out in a ball game,” Fleming County coach Bill Spencer said.
West Carter harassed Conn early – they combined to sack him and end the Panthers' first two drives.
Fleming County's best drive was just before halftime. Conn and Levi Denton (nine catches, 105 yards) hooked up for a 38-yarder to the West Carter 10, but the drive stalled on two incompletions.
The Panthers' last hope perished because when the Comets' Gavin Adams and Connor Greene hurried Conn into an incompletion.
W. CARTER 0 0 6 0 – 6
FLEMING CO. 0 0 0 0 – 0
WC-Cole Crampton 25 pass from Eli Estepp (kick failed), 10:57
First downs 6 13
Rushes-yards 26-64 22-86
Comp-Att-Int 3-11-0 18-33-0
Passing yards 58 184
Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-0
Punts-Avg. 5-35.2 6-43.1
Penalties-yards 4-35 9-100
West Carter rushing: Crampton 19-89, Flener 1-(minus-1), Estepp 5-(minus-17), McGlone 1-(minus-6).
Fleming Co. rushing: Denton 4-10, Trent 3-2, Igo 3-29, Conn 11-30.
West Carter passing: Estepp 3-11-58.
Fleming Co. passing: Conn 17-32-155, Johnson 1-1-25.
West Carter receiving: Crampton 3-37, McGlone 1-21.
Fleming Co. receiving: Johnson 4-25, Pinkley 3-46, Denton 9-105, Igo 1-(minus-2).