LAGRANGE, Ga. — After several weeks as the unanimous No. 1 in the rankings, Carver can now lay claim to being the leader in Region 5-AA.
The Tigers built a 19-17 halftime lead and held Callaway scoreless in the second half for a 39-17 victory on Friday at Callaway Stadium in a game between the region’s top two teams.
Carver running back Isaiah Crowell ran for a 64-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ second offensive play of the game, but was mostly limited with several injuries and an apparent right leg injury suffered during the first quarter.
Crowell played sparingly after the injury and finished with 81 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Junior Marquez Holloway picked up the extra carries, rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.
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“Isaiah was hurting a bit and he was already telling me at the start of the game to be ready, he knew I’d run anyway, but that he wouldn’t be able to go every down,” Holloway said. “I just put my mind to it and did what I had to do to put us on top.”
Carver coach Dell McGee declined to elaborate on Crowell’s condition, simply saying he has several injuries. Crowell was not available for comment immediately after the game.
With Friday’s victory, Carver (7-0, 4-0) took sole possession of the Region 5-AA lead while Callaway dropped to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in region play.
McGee said he was pleased with the way his team overcame injury to defeat Callaway, the reigning region champion, to take maintain control of their destiny in the regular season.
“Callaway was a very tough football team and we were playing in a hostile environment,” McGee said. “And Callaway was pretty jacked up for this. Both teams played well, and I’m proud of our guys.”
Callaway tied the game at 7 on a Ricky Parks 7-yard touchdown run, but Carver ended the period leading 13-7 on a 1-yard Cequanti Ford touchdown run as time expired in the first quarter.
Carver’s two-point conversion run failed, and Callaway was able to take its only lead of the game at 14-13 early in the second quarter on a 1-yard Parks run.
Tavin Thompson’s kickoff buried the Tigers at their own 17, and a bad snap left Carver with a second-and-20 at its own 7-yard line. But Holloway carried the ball 89 yards on the next play to bring the Tigers to the Callaway 4 and set the stage for quarterback Kris Carson’s 1-yard touchdown run three plays later. Carson’s two-point pass was blocked, leaving Carver ahead 19-14.
Callaway and Carver traded punts, but the Cavaliers had one more score in them before halftime as a 32-yard Thompson field goal sent the teams to halftime with Carver leading 19-17.
Carver blocked a field-goal attempt on Callaway’s first second-half possession, and Byron Key returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. With Julius Yarwaye’s point-after kick, the Tigers led 26-17.
Callway was forced to punt its next possession, and Carver marched downfield from its own 17, finishing the drive on a 7-yard Carson pass to Jarvis Bentley, who had to jump over his coverage to haul in the pass in the back left corner of the end zone.
Holloway broke off for a 37-yard touchdown run two possessions later for the final score.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Friday at Callaway Stadium
@z-BR TabQuarters 1col:Carver 13 6 7 13 — 39
Callaway 7 10 0 0 — 17
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:First Quarter
CAR—Isaiah Crowell 64 run Julius Yarwaye kick), 11:12
CAL—Ricky Parks 7 run (Tavin Thompson kick), 7:12
CAR—Cequanti Ford 1 run (run failed), :00
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Second Quarter
CAL—Parks 1 run (Thompson kick), 8:12
CAR—Kris Carson 1 run (pass failed), 4:56
CAL—Thompson 32 field goal, :12
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Third Quarter
CAR—Byron Key 60 blocked field goal return (Yarwaye kick), 7:43
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Fourth Quarter
CAR—Jarvis Bentley 7 pass from Kris Carson (Yarwaye kick), 11:01
CAR—Marquez Holloway, 47 run (kick failed), 4:04
Team records: Carver 7-0, 4-0 Region 5-AA; Callaway 5-2, 3-1. Next: Carver vs. Kendrick, 7 p.m. Thursday at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium; Callaway at Heard County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.