With losses last week, Eldorado and Carmi-White County are looking to keep their Black Diamond Conference championship hopes alive against each other at Carmi this week.
“They are well coached and have some hard-nosed kids and are coming off a loss as well,” said Eldorado coach Joe Clark. “The neat thing about losses is it kind of forces you to magnify the circumstances and try to figure out where things are. We’ve had some great games with them in the past, so we just hope to go up there and perform.”
Carmi-White County (1-2) leads the series 11-4 since the Bulldogs joined the conference in 2003. During that span the Eagles only win at Carmi was in 2012. Since then the home team has won every time. Last year Eldorado won 38-14.
“This is the week that’s really going to say what kind of character this team has,” said Carmi-White County coach Kurt Simon. “We’re very inexperienced. We returned one starter on defense and two on offense. And the one on defense is potentially out for the year.
"We’re down right now. We just are. We’ve had a hard time generating some offense, but we’re scrappy on defense. So as long as we keep playing defense and hold them to a couple touchdowns I feel like we have a chance. We have to get things going or we’ll be sitting at the bottom of the pack.”
Last week, Eldorado (2-1) lost 28-16 at home to co-leader Sesser-Valier-Waltonville. On a soggy field the Eagles fumbled three times with one leading to the Red Devil’s first score The Eagles trailed 16-0 at the half and fell behind 22-0 before rallying to pull within 22-16 with five minutes remaining.
“We just didn’t get it done last week, so we just have to continue to improve and see how things play out,” Clark said. “We didn’t play well in the first half and made some mistakes offensively that cost us. We battled back in the second half, but Sesser answered. It was a one touchdown game in the fourth quarter and Sesser put together a little drive and made the plays on third and fourth down. We essentially had four turnovers with turning the ball over on downs and still had a chance to win.”
Offensively, Eagles quarterback Aiden Whitlock completed 10-of-17 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown pass. Wide receiver Joe Mayberry had a big game with seven catches for 97 yards.
Eldorado rushed for 149 yards on 28 carries led by fullback Dawson Metten with 67 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, the Eagles gave up 184 yards passing and 167 rushing.
Carmi-White County has its back against the wall after a 12-6 road loss to Edwards County (2-1). They are in a third place tie with Vienna-Goreville, Hamilton County, Chester, and Johnston City.
Edwards County took the lead in a first quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass and the Bulldogs tied the game in the second quarter on an 11-yard touchdown pass from William Pugsley to tight end Adam Phelps. The Lions retook the lead with 8:26 remaining in the third quarter after a fumble set Edwards County up at the Carmi five.
“We made two critical mistakes for their two scores,” Simon said. “Our safety let their guy run right by him and he never does that. The other one we fumble and the ball was kicked and it wound up being a 25-yard fumble. If we didn’t give up those two we might have had a chance to win.”
The Bulldogs were driving with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but an interception by Joseph Richards sealed the win.