The pair of Carrollton High School play-makers epitomized the theme of the evening in the Trojans’ 45-12 homecoming victory over Shaw at Grisham Stadium, where the home team big-played its way to the Region 5-AAAA romp of the Raiders.
Shaw’s front line did a solid job for much of the night in not allowing a lot between the tackles, forcing the No. 5 Trojans (5-2, 4-0 Region 5-AAAA) to big-play their way down the field rather than methodically move the chains, which has been Carrollton’s M.O. under Trojan coach Rayvan Teague through the years.
“[Shaw] did a good job of adjusting to some things and kind of messed with our blocking scheme a little bit. Of course, having a couple of glitches in our personnel with [starting tight end] Cole Cook being out, that kind of limited us a little bit,” Teague said. “The coaches did a great job at halftime of re-scheming some things. We did a much better job of moving the football and blocking them in the second half.”
It took just 12 seconds for Terrell, the Trojans’ freshman phenom, to give Carrollton a lead it would never surrender courtesy of an 83-yard return on the opening kickoff. And while Sheppard’s 44-yard punt return for a score with 6:13 left in the fourth finalized the rout, Carrollton had to make some plays when it mattered before finally being able to relax a little in the fourth quarter.
“The offensive line, they was off a little in the first half, but we came back in the second half and got strong mentally in the field house and got ready for the second half and turned it up at the end,” noted Terrell, who rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown to go along with his 83-yard return.
Following Terrell’s opening score, the Trojan defense forced a three-and-out, leading to the lone long scoring drive of the opening half, as Carrollton went 58 yards in 13 plays, capped by a one-yard sneak from quarterback Will Hesterlee to make it a 14-0 game with 4:49 left in the first quarter.
Shaw put together a nice drive on its next possession, but it wouldn’t get any points for its effort after the Trojan defense stopped the Raiders on fourth-and-goal at the 10-yard line.
After trading possessions, Carrollton made it a 21-0 contest behind some more fancy footwork from Terrell.
The freshman speedster’s 36-yard run set up his three-yard touchdown run on the next play, making it a three-possession game with 5:45 left in the half.
Shaw got on the board with a 69-yard touchdown strike from Chandler Whittlesey to Jakobi Long, but the Raiders’ two-point conversion fake was no good, leaving it a 21-6 game at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter.
Shaw threatened again later in the half, but Whittlesey’s pass was picked off by Caleb Johnson at the Carrollton 29-yard line with 59.4 seconds remaining.
That allowed the Trojans to get one last score in, as Wil Garrett hooked up with Trey Chivers on a 49-yard pass play to the Raider eight-yard line with 16.3 ticks on the clock. It proved to be enough time for Tyler Newsome to boot a 29-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired, putting Carrollton up 24-6 at the break.
The Raiders (3-4, 1-3) got some early momentum at the start of the second half after Jacorey Butler recovered the Trojans only fumble of the night at the Carrollton 34-yard line.
On the first play after the turnover, Whittlesey darted down to the two-yard line. The Shaw signal-caller would score on a keeper two plays later to make it a 24-12 affair.
The Raiders’ two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving it a 12-point ball game.
Teague said containing Whittlesey — who completed 14-of-24 pass attempts for 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception to go along with 44 rushing yards and a score — was the No. 1 priority for his defense.
“The kid’s really hard to hem up. He’s got a good arm and they’ve got a lot of skill guys to throw the ball to. He’s just dangerous because he can buy so much time with his feet,” Teague said. “It makes you not want to send so many people in coverage, because you’re worried about him running for 10, 15 yards. But I thought our defensive line put good pressure on him all night long.”
Instead of allowing the Raiders to battle back in the game, the Trojans put it away from there.
On the ensuing possession, Trojan wing back Tre Heard emerged as the big-play guy, breaking loose on a 49-yard run, which set up a two-yard touchdown run by Trey Chivers on fourth-and-two with 1:03 left in the third to go up 31-12.
Following a three-and-out by Shaw, the Trojans went 58 yards in 10 plays, with Dan Harris rumbling in from 10 yards out for the dagger.
Sheppard’s 44-yard touchdown return on the punt was just the icing on the cake for the homecoming crowd.
Carrollton rushed for 271 yards on the ground in a collective effort, as Heard led the way with 73 yards on seven carries, while Terrell had 58 yards, Harris rushed for 41, Sheppard had 35 and Chivers finished with 30.
Defensively, Kimbert Frye posted 11 tackles for the Trojans, while Turner Martin had seven and Villery Hayes recorded six, including two for a loss with a sack.
Now with three games left in the regular season, the immediate focus is securing home-field advantage for the opening round of the playoffs, but ultimately capturing a region championship when all is said and done.
“Basically, we pretty much secured the third seed, but we want to come back to Grisham Stadium. We need to win two out of these next three to have a home game,” Teague said. “So we want to do that. If we win all three, we’ll be region champs. And that’s definitely our goal.”