Some early gambling paid off big for East Carter Friday night, as the Raiders spoiled Fairview’s home opener 13-6.

East Carter would convert a fourth down on each of its first two drives, leading to the only two scores it would need for its first win of the young season.

On the first series of the game, East running back Caleb Waugh picked up four yards on a fourth-and-three on Fairview’s 16 to keep the Raiders’ drive going. That drive would be capped two plays later with a 7-yard touchdown scamper from junior quarterback Nathan Carroll.

The order would be reversed on the Raiders’ very next drive, with Carroll scrambling 11 yards to convert a fourth-and-10 on the Fairview 20, followed two plays later with Waugh plunging into the end zone from one yard out.

East Carter Coach Don Damron said after the game that he didn’t see the fourth-down calls as overly risky.

“We weren’t in bad field position so, if we turned the ball over, it wasn’t going to put our defense against the wall,” Damron said. “And we wanted to show our kids that we had confidence in them to go out there and convert.”

Carroll would shoulder the load for the Raiders most of the night, carrying 15 times for 82 yards, both game highs. Whenever the Raiders needed a clutch play, it was the junior quarterback who wound up with the ball.

“(Carroll) is an exceptional athlete,” Damron said. “This was a game of survival, and we had to go to the guy who had the experience.”

Fairview answered East’s first score after the Raiders fumbled a punt, giving the Eagles the ball on the East Carter 35.

Fullback-turned-quarterback Daniel Armstrong, who finished with 154 passing yards, would hook up with wideout Casey Clark on a 30-yard bomb, which was followed by a 5-yard run by Danny Stewart for a touchdown. The Eagles’ extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 7-6.

After giving up the second touchdown to East — and forcing backup quarterback Trei Tackett to throw the ball away on a bad snap during the extra-point attempt — Fairview would have several more chances to draw even.

With just over a minute to go in the first half, Armstrong hit wideout Jason Kouns on a 47-yard strike that set the Eagles up in East Carter territory. But the drive ended with three straight incompletions.

On its second drive of the third quarter, Fairview marched from its own five to set up first-and-goal inside East Carter’s 10. The drive chewed up almost all of the third quarter, but the Eagles came away with nothing after a holding penalty backed Fairview up 10 yards. The Eagles would work their way back inside the 10, but turned it over on downs when Stewart lost three yards on a fourth-down run.

Fairview would get one more chance when Stewart returned a punt 30 yards with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, again putting the Eagles deep in Raider territory.

But the drive would end almost as soon as it began, with Armstrong making an errant option pitch, and East Carter pouncing on the loose ball.

Damron said East Carter’s ability to hold off the Eagles gave his team a lot of confidence. But the coach was also disappointed in a touchdown called back by a penalty, and a drive-ending interception.

“We could have gotten a bigger lead, and we let them hang around,” Damron said. “But, that put us in the position where our kids had to do some real growing up tonight, and they did.”


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