ABERNATHY — A two-man show can carry you a ways in small-school football.
For a half Friday night, that recipe seemed to have Abernathy in pretty good shape as a new playoff journey arrives.
But an injury to half of the Antelopes’ dynamic tandem tossed a damper on the night.
Abernathy took care of business quickly and decisively against Idalou in a showdown for the District 2-3A championship, rolling to a huge early lead en route to a 54-6 triumph.
The second half was marred by an injury to senior running back/safety Kole Carlisle — half of that dynamic duo — who stayed on the ground after a pass reception near the Wildcats’ sideline.
After several minutes, trainers were summoned with a stretcher and Carlisle was taken off the field on a utility cart.
Abernathy coach Darrell Daily said he was hoping Carlisle’s injury wasn’t serious.
“That was kind of a sour note, but we’re hoping it’s not too bad,” Daily said. “He’s a tough young man, and he’ll be back out there as soon as he can be.”
With Carlisle on the field, the Antelopes (9-1, 5-0 district) dominated at nearly every position and every manner possible, as he and quarterback Bryson Daily stole an awful lot of the show.
Those two accounted for all six Abernathy touchdowns in the first two quarters and 340 total yards between them. Carlisle also swiped three Wildcat passes and Bryson Daily picked off a fourth.
Idalou (7-3, 3-2) hurt itself with a fumble on the third play of the night that Antelopes’ defensive tackle Thomas Rodriguez smothered. Three plays later, Bryson Daily zig-zagged 13 yards for the first of his three rushing scores – he also passed for three.
“You can’t do something like that early in the game against a great team like they are,” Wildcats’ coach Jeff Lofton said. “Those guys are too good. They’re going to take advantage of mistakes, and they did.”
While not making a whole lot of their own.
Until the injury hiccup, finding a flaw in Abernathy’s performance was tough. Even after Carlisle got banged up, the Antelopes finished off their most methodical drive of the night: 14 plays covering 83 yards that gobbled up 8:58 off the third-quarter clock.
That came after Abernathy churned out 289 yards in the first half and 13 first downs. The Antelopes wound up with 394 total yards while limiting Idalou to 112.
“It’s always our goal to come out and execute the game plan like we’ve been practicing it all week,” Bryson Daily said. “We were very good on both sides of the ball (Friday).”
Added Darrell Daily, “As good as (Carlisle and Bryson Daily) are, it’s been our offensive and defensive lines that have carried us all year. This has been a total team effort all season, and that was the case (Friday).”
Meanwhile it was a night chock-full of frustration for the Wildcats.
They didn’t carve out their initial first down until the game was 20½ minutes old, and by then the Antelopes led 34-0. Only one Idalou offensive snap came from the Abernathy end of the field in the first half.
Brock Leatherwood supplied a small silver lining when he scooped up a fumble and darted 34 yards to the end zone in the closing minutes to help the Wildcats avert a shutout.
The good news, though, is that Friday can be quickly played in the rearview mirror for a proud program.
“The best thing about this game is that we got to see what we need to do against a great team, and that’s important starting next week,” Lofton said. “From now on, we’ve got a clean slate, so it’s time for us to learn from this loss, get back on track and see if we can’t get on a roll.”
Players of the game
Not much of a stretch here: Bryson Daily ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns and connected on 8-of-11 passes for 114 yards and three more scores. Carlisle, in a little over a half of action, racked up 138 total yards and picked off three passes — each one leading to an Abernathy TD.
Both teams head to the Class 3A playoffs next week.