The Switzerland County Pacer varsity football team got another strong effort on Friday night on a trip to Carroll County, but turnovers and critical penalties proved costly as the Pacers fell to the Panthers by a final score of 29-12.
The Pacers got off to a quick lead on their hosts, as Switzerland County tailback Jonny Thompson took the opening hand-off and dashed 52 yards to put the Pacers on top 6-0 after the extra point attempt failed.
The game stayed that way until 2:22 to go in the opening quarter when Carroll County took advantage of a long pass to put the ball on the four yard line. Moments later Carroll County quarterback Dylan Groves took the keeper and scored. The Panthers were good on the PAT attempt, and at the end of the first quarter, Switzerland County was playing well, but found itself down by one, 7-6.
The two defenses took over from that point, keeping the opposing offenses out of the end zone through much of the second quarter.
With 2:27 to go in the half, Switzerland County cornerback Mike Gatto came up with a key interception, and then it was Thompson again for the Pacers, and the senior rammed his way for a six-yard touchdown run that gave Switzerland County a 12-7 lead.
It looked like that was how the squads would go into the locker room for halftime, but Carroll County lined up for a 31-yard field goal attempt as the half wound down. The attempt was off line, but the Pacers were hit with a roughing the kicker penalty, moving the ball half the distance to the goal and giving the Panthers another chance. Carroll County took advantage of that opportunity; with running back Lucas Gibbs scoring to give the Panthers a 13-12 lead at the half.
As it turns out, that would be the start of a Panther run, as Carroll County would score 16 more points in the second half – nine in the third and seven more in the fourth – while Switzerland County was kept out of the end zone.
The Pacers were moving the ball on offense, but couldn’t come up with the key play at the key time in order to convert drives into points.
Carroll County got a field goal and then got an inception and returned it for a touchdown for its third quarter points; and then got another touchdown run from Groves to seal the win, 29-12, dropping the Switzerland County record to 1-2.
Offensively, Thompson was the key, as he finished with 138 yards rushing on 17 attempts and scored two touchdowns. Kyle Whitham had three rushes for 12 yards; wide receiver Will Pike had a couple of carries for nine yards; and Switzerland County quarterback Casper Stow had a run of 33 yards, but finished with a net rushing total of just five.
Stow was 3-for-8 passing for seven yards; and he also threw three interceptions. Pike had 15 yards receiving; and Dalton Roark also had a reception for two yards.
On defense, Trystan Kielbasa had eight tackles including one for a loss and also assisted on four others. Roark had seven tackles with four of those resulting in lost yardage; and he also had two assists. Thompson also made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball with four tackles.
Dakota Baatz had three tackles; while Harrison Griffis, Brandon Earls, Isaac Slover, and Cody Wilson each were credited with a tackle.
History will again be made tomorrow (Friday) night, as Switzerland County travels to Edinburgh to play its first-ever conference football game – the Pacers are a part of the Mid-Indiana Football Conference. Kickoff in Edinburgh is set for 7 p.m.
To get to Edinburgh: Take State Road 56 west, either to Austin or to Scottsburg and get on Interstate 65 North towards Indianapolis. Follow 65 North until Exit 76B (Outlet Mall exit); and then take State Road 31 to South Eisenhower Drive, turning right and going through Edinburgh to Keeley Street. School is located at 300 Keeley Street, Edinburgh, Indiana, 46124.
Fans may also take State Road 7 through North Vernon to Columbus, then access Interstate 65 North to the Edinburgh exit; or a third option is to take State Road 421 North to Greensburg, and then at the Honda Manufacturing plant turn west onto West Vandalia Road, and follow that (becomes State Road 252) into Edinburgh.