The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

September 28, 2013

Defense carries Carthage to win

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Alex Derryberry returned a fumble 24 yards for a touchdown and Carthage added three touchdowns in the last five minutes of the first half Friday night as the Tigers defeated Neosho 48-17 at K.E. Baker Stadium.

Carthage’s defense scored two touchdowns and came within a yard of a third defensive score against its Central Ozark Conference Large Division rival.

D’Angelo Poole returned an interception 60 yards to the Neosho 1-yard line with 28 seconds left in the first half, and Alex Kennedy returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown on Neosho’s first possession of the second half.

“Our defense obviously played hard. It was great to see that,” said Carthage head coach Jon Guidie. “I don’t know when the last time we had a defensive touchdown and we had two of them tonight.”

Neosho’s defense limited Carthage to 128 yards rushing on 25 carries. Carthage quarterback Gabe Franklin completed 9 of 14 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s pick your poison,” said Neosho head coach Dustin Baldwin. “Coach Guidie does a good job mixing things up.”

Carthage (3-2 overall, 2-1 COC Large) took a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Derryberry scooped up a Neosho fumble and returned it 24 yards down the Carthage sideline for a touchdown.

“The ball just came loose. Coach Guidie was yelling, ‘Pick it up!’ “ Derryberry said. “It was caused by Jonathan Gonzalez and Alex Kennedy. Luckily, I was there at the right time.”

Neosho drove 50 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on its next possession. A 22-yard pass to Justin McKee gave Neosho a first-and-goal at the 3. After Carthage stopped the Wildcats for no gain on three rushing plays, Nathan Moser scored on a 3-yard pass from Austin Hailey.

Neosho pulled to within 14-10 on a 28-yard field goal by Caleb Johnston midway through the second quarter. Passes of 21 yards to McKee and 42 yards to Moser gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal at the 10, but Neosho settled for a field goal after Anthony Turk sacked Hailey on third-and-goal from the 9.

“I thought it was going to be a great game,” Derryberry said. “They play hard.”

Carthage answered with a nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive and took a 22-10 lead on Kennan Harrison’s 3-yard run.

A 54-yard run by McKee on the next play from scrimmage gave Neosho a first-and-10 at the Carthage 12, but a pass on fourth down from the 10, defended by Derryberry in the end zone, fell incomplete with 3 minutes, 12 seconds left in half.

Carthage scored six plays later when a 34-yard pass to E.J. Morgan set up a 49-yard touchdown pass to Morgan with 1:39 left.

On Neosho’s next possession, Poole’s interception return set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Cameron Priester that gave Carthage a 36-10 lead just before halftime.

“Down for down, we competed pretty good, but the big-play bug has hurt us,” Baldwin said. “Turnovers and penalties were the biggest statistics of the game for us.”

Carthage scored 44 seconds into the second half on a 35-yard pass from Franklin to Harrison, and the Tigers took a 48-10 lead when Kennedy intercepted a screen pass over the middle two minutes later and returned it for a touchdown.

Carthage took a 6-0 lead on its first possession with a 66-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard pass to tight end Jesse Martini, who later caught two passes for 2-point conversions.

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