PRICE - Displaying an unstoppable offense and a stifling defense, the Carlisle Indians blew out the Union Grove Lions 57-6 here Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
The victory sealed the second seed in District 9-2A. Carlisle moved to 4-1 in league play and evened its season record at 4-4 after opening the season with four losses against two Class 3A schools and two Top 10 state-ranked 2-A teams in Timpson and Beckville.
The Tribe will travel to Linden-Kildare Friday for the regular season finale.
The win marked the final home game for Co-athletic director Rocky Baker who served 13 years as Carlisle head coach before relinquishing that that title to his son Clay four years ago but remaining as AD and defensive coordinator. The elder Baker will retire after the Indians’ final game. He was doused with water at the end of the game by the players.
Junior Brody Eaves ran for 178 yards on just eight carries and three touchdowns despite having just one run in the second half. Eaves’ season total moves to 1,108 yards and 16 TDs. Sophomore quarterback Fernando Espinoza completed seven of 12 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown to run his season total to 1,355 yards.
Sophomore Clayton Hart had receptions of 62 and 67 yards and has a team-high 22 catches for 483 yards and four scores on the year. Hart also had three carries for 22 yards, returned a blocked field goal 85 yards for a touchdown and returned his fourth interception of the year 21 yards to finish with 256 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, linebacker Joel Fraser led the way with 15 tackles, 14 unassisted, five for a loss and blocked a field goal.
“It was a good night all way around,” Carlisle coach Clay Baker said. “Not only did we win on Senior Night, we saw a lot of good things. Our passing game was on, I don’t think Fernando threw a bad pass all night, Brody went over 1,000 yards and Clayton really had a good night, he scored three different ways.”
Carlisle took the opening kickoff and went 62 yards in 10 plays with Hart opening the scoring with a 11-yard run with 3:05 off the clock. Sophomore David DeLeon added the PAT for a quick 7-0 lead. Espinoza and DeLeon hooked up on a 29-yard reception for the biggest play of the drive.
After holding the visitors on downs, freshman Zeshaun Reed returned the Lion punt 15 yards to the UG 47 and Espinoza found DeLeon for a 30-yard reception on first down. After an incomplete pass, Eaves took off around left end and outran the Lion defense untouched for a 17-yard TD. DeLeon added the PAT for a 14-0 lead with 5:11 left in the first quarter.
Carlisle took over at its own 33 after another UG punt and it took just one play to reach the end zone again when Espinoza hit a streaking Hart behind the Lion secondary and the fleet soph sped to the end zone to complete a 67-yard touchdown. DeLeon once again added the extra point for a quick 21-0 with 2:27 left in the first.
Union Grove’s only score came with 4:03 left in the first half in a two-yard run to culminate a 17-play, 95-yard drive but it took just one play for the Tribe to answer. Taking over at their own 46 following a failed onside kick, Eaves took off around right end and raced untouched 54 yards to the end zone. DeLeon’s PAT made it 28-6 with 3:51 remaining in the half.
After an inadvertent whistle nullified a sack by Carlisle’s Cullen Thomas which had caused the Lion QB to fumble and Carlisle’s Alan Rocha recovered at the UG 35, the Lions punted to the Indian 14. It was the third straight game in which an inadvertent whistle nullified an opponent turnover.
On first down. Espinoza found Hart for a 62-yard gain to the Lion 34. Four plays later, DeLeon ran through a gaping hole on the left side of the line from nine yards out and then added the PAT for a 35-6 lead with just 44 seconds left in the half.
Union Grove took the second half kickoff and used a 67-yard pass play to reach the Tribe seven before stalling and attempting a 24-yard field goal. Fraser blocked the kick and Hart scooped up the ball and returned it 85 yards for his third score of the night. DeLeon’s kick made it 42-6 with 7:44 left in the third.
Carlisle didn’t touch the ball on offense until there was 4:51 left in the third in the second half and didn’t keep it long as Eaves went 81 yards down the right sideline, once again untouched, for a touchdown and a 48-6 lead after a botched extra point.
Carlisle coach Clay Baker flooded the field with reserves the rest of the way. DeLeon added a 37-yard field goal and freshman Erik Garza closed out scoring with a 26-yard run with 2:06 left in the game.