By Greg Morse (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Carl Junction got its postseason started at home with a 43-12 win over Hillcrest on Friday at home.
The game started out with both teams coming out swinging as Carl Junction scored on its first drive with touchdown reception from junior wide receiver Garret Taylor. The Hornets answered back with a scoring drive of their own, capped off by 13-yard run from junior Dion Davis. A failed two-point conversion however gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead.
Davis set the tone early for Hillcrest and led the offense for much of the game, having several great runs and over 100 total rushing yards.
On the very next drive, duel-threat senior Joe Kennedy rumbled for a nine-yard touchdown. A few drives later he ran in an 11-yard touchdown that was followed by a successful two-point conversion to put the Bulldogs up 22-6 going into halftime.
“We were able to get the pass-game going tonight, and our line did great, which really opened up the run game. I just keep running until I see an open lane,” said Kennedy, who played snaps at quarterback as well as running back, as the Bulldogs relied heavily on him in the first half before transitioning to a more balanced pass attack in the second.
The second half opened with more defensive performances from both sides. On the first drive of the half, Bulldog junior Teagan Armentrout had his second interception of the night…or so it seemed. The play was ultimately negated due to penalty, but just two-plays later Armentrout took back the play that was stolen from him, getting his real second interception with 10 minutes left in the third.
“It’s playoff time, we have to come out and show out every week, and we did that tonight,” said Armentrout reflecting on his second consecutive two-interception home game.
The Hornets were not going to let the Bulldogs go that easily however and held them out of the endzone. Several back and forth drives kept the score at 22-6 heading towards the final frame. Minutes into the fourth quarter, senior Tyler Varner intercepted the Hornets at the 33-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Joe Kennedy ran it in for his third touchdown.
A few drives later, CJ scored again on Tyler White’s 82-yard catch-and-run. But the Hornets weren’t done yet. On the ensuing kickoff, Dion Davis returned the kick 94-yards for a touchdown.
With just a few minutes left in the fourth, the Bulldogs put the game away on a five-yard touchdown from senior Hunter Koester, a fitting way to end the final home game of his career.
“The first-half we were able to make some passing plays, but our percentage was down, but we really picked it up in the second-half and that was good to see,” said Bulldogs coach Doug Buckmaster, “[On the defensive side of the ball] our kids were taking the ball away. It was a good game.”
Carl Junction travels to Webb City next week for the second round of the district playoffs.