MURPHYSBORO — The Murphysboro Red Devils turned Friday the 13th into a nightmare for Carterville, scoring three defensive touchdowns to hand the Lions its second lopsided shutout of the season, 49-0, Friday night at a renovated Doc Bencini Field.
“Coach Jason LeGrand and his defensive staff did a great job getting the guys ready,” said Murphysboro coach Gary Carter. “We work on stuff like that and the ball bounced our way. This is my 26th year and this was the first time I’ve had three defensive scores.”
Murphysboro improved to 2-1 while Carterville dropped to 0-3, with the conference schedule for both teams starting next week.
The Murphysboro defense forced a total of four turnovers on three fumbles and an interception. The Red Devils held the Lions to five first downs and 77 total yards, including 14 yards passing on 4-of-13 attempts and 63 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Murphysboro offense finished with 263 yards rushing on 36 attempts led by Dezmond Clark with 93 yards on seven carries and Jake Hoppenstedt with 52 yards on five — all in the first half.
Jamarr McZeke completed 4-of-4 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown while Ryan Finke was 2-of-4 for five yards.
The first quarter was nothing but frustration for the Red Devils as Murphysboro was stopped on fourth down at the Carterville 14 on the game’s opening drive and then handed the ball over to the Lions at the Carterville 44 on a fumble.
Murphysboro’s third drive started at its own 30 with 3:48 remaining in the ill-fated quarter, but it ended with a turnover at the Carterville 10 on 4th down, 49 seconds into the second quarter.
The Red Devils defense held the Lions to four plays and a punt, then, after the Lions got the ball back on a fumble, to three plays and a punt in the first quarter. Then the defense took the game into its own hands.
Senior defensive back Logan Sullivan jumped a route and intercepted Elijah Downen’s third pass at the 22 and ran it in for his first career interception return for a touchdown.
You have free articles remaining.
“I think that got our team hyped,” Sullivan said. “It was kind of a blur. I was spying the quarterback since I was free on that play and he just threw it and I was right there with no one in front of me.”
The Red Devils lined up for Jake Attig to kick the extra point, but the Lions were called for encroachment, so the play was changed to a 2-point attempt and Clark was stopped short of the end zone.
Carterville got the ball back at its own 30 and drove down to the Murphysboro 24. However, the Red Devils sacked Downen for two yards to set up a 43-yard field goal attempt by Caleb Knight. The kick was right on, but the two-yard sack made the difference as the ball fell that much short.
Murphysboro took over at the 26 and needed just five plays for Clark to score from the 30. Attig kicked the point and with 4:24 remaining in the half Murphysboro led 14-0.
Facing a second and 14 at Carbondale's own 14, Downen fumbled around the 10-yard line where Aiden McNitt picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown. Attig was perfect again.
Jameirr Frazier then executed a perfect pooch kickoff and LaTaveon Caves-Gibbs recovered the ball at the Carterville 25. The next play McZeke hit Sullivan for a 25-yard touchdown pass. By the time Attig split the uprights again, the Red Devils had turned a 6-0 lead into a 28-0 rout in the span of 1:13. The lead remained 28-0 at the half.
“Basically that play is designed so the safeties can’t be right,” Sullivan said. “Nobody really looks at the tight end, so the play was for me to either draw the safeties to me or they draw off and they drew off, so the play was to me.”
The third defensive score came on Carterville’s opening possession of the second half when Michael Shearer picked up a fumble caused by Baden Dorsey at the end of a three-yard completion and ran it in from the 35. Attig was perfect again to up the lead to 35-0.
After forcing a punt, the Red Devils drove 47 yards on three plays with Jake Hoppenstadt rushing for the last 28. Attig nailed the kick again, upping the score to 42-0 with 7:24 left in the third. Payton Austin scored with 1:38 remaining and Attig kicked the point for the final margin.