CARLISLE – A couple of first-half turnovers provided enough separation as Carlisle defeated Creston/Orient-Macksburg 36-21 Friday at Dr. Doane Hakes Memorial Stadium.
The Wildcats led 8-7 before intercepting Panthers quarterback Eli Loudon on the goal line in the first quarter and recovering a fumbled handoff in the second quarter. Carlisle converted both of those possessions into touchdowns for a 22-7 advantage.
Wildcats quarterback Tegan Wyckoff threw 26-yard TD strike to Caleb Wenthe as nine-tenths of a second remained in the first quarter for a 15-7 Carlisle lead.
It became 22-7 Widcats a little more than 90 seconds later, when Nathan McCormick took the ball away from the Panthers on a fumble and Wyckoff scored from 2 yards out.
“We knew they were going to be a physical team on both sides, and they were. They had some explosive plays on offense in the first half both in the passing game and the run game,” Creston/O-M head coach Brian Morrison said.
The Panthers turned the ball over four times in the game and forced three turnovers. After Loudon fumbled the ball away on first-and-goal at the Carlisle 4 with 3:03 left in the first quarter, Rylan Luther recovered a Wildcats’ fumble two plays later.
Creston/O-M failed to convert its ensuing possession into points on the next play, when Archer Ogbourne picked off a Loudon pass on the goal line.
“We were in the red zone twice and we turned the ball over. That is just giving points away,” Morrison said. “It’s tough to come back from.”
Wildcats head coach Mark Hoekstra said his team was in danger of losing its advantage.
“Early in the game, our backs were against the wall because we were not really stopping them,” Hoekstra said. “They were exploiting some stuff that we were doing. They had us. We just happened to get a couple turnovers at the right moments.”
The Panthers found themselves trailing 29-7 at halftime after the Wildcats forced a three-and-out and Wyckoff’s 22-yard touchdown pass went to Wenthe with 7:12 left in the first half.
Bryce Murray had kickstarted the scoring in the first quarter, when his 45-yard TD dash and two-point conversion run made it 8-0 Carlisle at the 9:45 mark.
Creston/O-M responded immediately with a four-play, 72-yard drive that Loudon ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Cael Kralik a little more than a minute later.
“Offensively, (Creston/O-M) is the most dangerous team we have seen this year,” Hoekstra said. “We were trying to keep them in front of us, and not let them get behind us because that has been a problem with the teams we have played.”
Carlisle entered Friday’s game off a 13-3 loss in Week 2 to Class 3A No. 5 Lewis Central.
The Panthers rallied to win the second half 14-7, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Luther crossed the goal line after a 2-yard run with 11:28 remaining. Loudon added a 2-yard run and two-point conversion pass to Luke Latham as 2:37 remained.
In between, Nic Goodhue capped Carlisle’s 10-play, 80-yard fourth-quarter drive with an 18-yard touchdown run with 6:19 showing.
“We can take some positives out of this loss and hopefully improve for Week 4,” Morrison said. “It should hurt that we lost this football game, but there should not be any pointing fingers at anyone. It’s a team loss. We will regroup from it.”
Brance Baker led the Creston/O-M defense with eight tackles and an interception. Luther had 7 1/2 tackles while Garon Wurster added seven stops and Sam Chapman had a fumble recovery.
UP NEXT – The Panthers, who fell to 2-1 overall, host Bondurant-Farrar 7 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats, who improved to 2-1, host Pella 7 p.m. Friday.
Panther freshmen blank Carlisle
CARLISLE – Kyle Strider made two important plays as the Creston/Orient-Macksburg freshmen football team preserved a 6-0 win Carlisle Friday.
Strider tossed a 32-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass to Trey Chestnut for a 6-0 Panthers’ lead. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Creston/O-M maintained its six-point advantage for the rest of the game, including stopping the Wildcats on the final three plays inside the Panthers’ 10-yard line. Strider intercepted a pass in the end zone to end it.
Strider completed 6 of 22 passes for 84 yards and one interception. He added 74 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Gannon Greenwalt had 20 yards on 16 carries for Creston/O-M, which received four catches for 64 yards from Chestnut.
Carter Henderson and Ty Morrison led the Panthers with four tackles apiece. Greenwalt, Payton Conley, Andre Davis and Chris Aragon each added three tackles.
UP NEXT – Creston/O-M, which improved to 3-0, hosts Bondurant-Farrar 4:15 p.m. Friday.