Sometimes being good can come back to haunt you — even if it’s in another sport.
The success of the Carthage High volleyball team and its trip to the state tournament on Thursday forced the football team to find a new night and site for its playoff game with the Lumberton Raiders.
The two teams ended up flipping home-and-home and the Raiders won the toss, so the Bulldog faithful will have to make the longer trek south to watch the Red and White play.
Kickoff for the Region III-4A area playoff game between the No. 2 ranked Bulldogs (11-0) and the Lumberton Raiders (7-3) is set for 7 p.m. in Raiders Stadium.
Pre-sale tickets can be bought for $5 at the Bulldog Stop. Tickets will be $6 at the gate.
The Raiders are the runners-up from District 11-4A, but had to beat Little Cypress-Mauriceville 20-14 in overtime to finish second. they beat Houston Wheatley 34-17 last week in bi-district with a 20-point second quarter.
“They run the slot-T so we’re going to see a lot of running,” Carthage Head Coach Scott Surratt said. “They’ll run the ball, run the ball and then when they think we’re just looking run, they’ll go play-action and throw the ball. It’s real important that we read our keys. I think there’ll be a battle in the trenches.”
Surratt thinks No. 6, Brittain Alfuro, is the Raiders’ best player. He plays both safety and running back for Lumberton and had a 45-yard touchdown run against Wheatley last week.
Reagan Koch will also run the ball and is a pretty good receiver. Surratt was also impressed by their offensive line and thinks the team has a pretty good kicking game.
The Raiders will run a 4-2-5 front, but Surratt said they jump into several different sets and give his offense a lot of different looks.
Linebacker Walter Young, along with Koch and Alfuro, leads the defense.
They’re real proud that they’re only giving up 13.9 points a game,” Surratt said.
The Bulldogs are averaging 39.1 points a game and giving up just 9.3. They are averaging 430.6 yards of total offense — 169.8 rushing and 260.7 passing — while giving up 171.8 — 96.1 and 75.7.
“We need to establish the running game and get them in man coverage and get them one-on-one on our receivers,” Surratt said. “We still have some things we can clean up, and we’re trying to get better each week.”
Quarterback Kai Horton has passed for most of the yardage as he is 178-294-4 for 2,588 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Mason Courtney went over the 1,000-yard mark last week and now has 1,086 and 10 touchdowns on the ground to go with 306 yards receiving on 24 catches. Jaden Thomas has 472 yards and five scores for the Bulldogs.
Kelvontay Ingram is the leading receiver with 51 catches for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 127 yards and a score. Kel Williams has 37 catches for 674 yards and six touchdowns, while Craig McNew has 24 catches for 246 yards and five scores.
Rayvon Ingram, who has three touchdowns in short-yardage situations on offense, leads the defense with 93 tackles and is tied for the lead in sacks with two.
Kylon Lister is next in stops with 72 and also has 11 QB pressures, while Quinton Owens has 69 tackles and two sacks, Mason Bobo has 65 tackles, Jai Brazier has 61 and Cole Whitlock and D.J Hicks both had 56 tackles.
Hicks also has two sacks, while Miles Halton leads in interceptions with three. Ja’von King, De’Aundrey Bowman and Ingram all have two.
“This is an exciting week,” Surratt said. “Week 2 of the playoffs and the volleyball team at state, that’s a lot going on, a lot of things that can be distracting.
‘We need to stay focused and play a good football game.
“If we can play like the girls volleyball team played last week, we’ll be all right.”
The Bulldogs are 34 point favorites according to Harris Ratings Weekly.