In a game featuring nearly 1,000 yards of offense, Carmi-White County ended Eldorado’s 11-game Black Diamond Conference winning streak with a 37-34 victory Saturday in Carmi.
The 3-0 Bulldogs have already matched their win total from last season after taking down the 2015 BDC champs.
Carmi senior quarterback Jake Simon was 16-for-20 for 260 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions on the day. And of the four incompletions, one was a ball thrown out of bounds to avoid a sack and the other three were balls right on the money that were dropped. Simon also had a 24-yard field goal with under 5 minutes to play, which proved the difference in the game.
“I can’t say enough about Jake’s effort,” said Kurt Simon, the Bulldog coach and father of Jake. “That’s the best game he’s played so far in his career and it came at a great time. You can’t ask for anything more as a parent or as a coach.
“We have a ton of respect for this group of kids from Eldorado. As a parent, I’ve seen that group since we started playing them in fifth grade, and we’ve lost every single game except one basketball game against them until today.”
Eldorado (2-1) rolled up 444 yards on the ground, including 257 from senior Payton Price and 141 from fellow senior Tre Vessel.
The Eagles didn’t punt the entire game, but lost two fumbles, both of which were converted into touchdowns by the ‘Dogs.
“We knew that we were going to have something like that to have a chance against them,” said K. Simon. “And it happened.”
While the Eagles relied primarily on their ground game, the hosts had a more balanced attack with 164 yards on the ground and 260 in the air. Senior Andrew Burnett ran for 141 yards on 24 carries.
“That’s what we couldn’t do last year and that’s what’s making the difference for us this year,” said K. Simon of his team’s running game. “Our offensive line is doing a much better job of opening up holes, and ‘Burnie’ is doing a great job of running north and south. As long as we can do that, it opens up our pass game so much. We want to try to stay as balanced as we can.”
J. Simon’s 24-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs a 37-26 lead with just 4:08 to play in the game.
However, the Eagles needed just 1:18 to march 67 yards and score on a 20-yard pass from junior quarterback Kale Ogelsby to senior Max Kasiar. Price added the 2-point conversion to draw the Eagles within three at 37-34.
The Eagles defense then held Carmi to a three-and-out, but J. Simon blasted a 44-yard punt to pin Eldorado at its own 10 yard line with 58.9 seconds in the game.
Out of time-outs, the Eagles could muster only a five-yard gain on a run by Price, a one-yard pass and an incompletion before the final snap. On the final play of the game, Price was tackled by Carmi’s Justin Lamp around midfield.
“Coming off of the season we had last year, I think this may have been one of the most significant wins we’ve had in a long time,” said K. Simon. “We were the underdogs today.”