HUMBLE - Carthage showed no respect for Stafford's undefeated record nor the Spartans' top 10 ranking Friday in the third round of the Texas Class 4A football postseason.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-3 with a convincing 34-0 victory at George Turner Stadium. The win allowed Carthage to remain very much alive in the postseason tournament and the right to face defending state champion and undefeated Navasota next weekend. The date, venue and time had not been announced at press time.
Sophomore Keontay Ingram enjoyed the most productive performance of his young career with 12 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns for the Dogs. Senior quarterback Jarod Blissett had another solid playoff outing. The Carthage quarterback completed 11 passes in 15 attempts for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also caught a 30-yard TD pass in the second quarter from Hunter Townsend to give Carthage a 6-0 lead.
Jarod McLin had three receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown. Jakeldric Jackson caught four passes for 91 yards and a TD. Ingram had two catches for 28 yards and Ravodney Hardy caught a 14-yard pass in the second half.
The Spartans went on offense to start the game and turned the ball over on downs after coming up short on fourth-and-2 from the Carthage 31-yard line.
The Bulldogs managed a first down on their first offensive possession yet was forced to punt after crossing midfield to the Stafford 49.
Following an exchange of punts again, the Spartans went into their bag of tricks and pulled out a flea flicker which was intercepted by Roderick Calloway early in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Stafford picked off a Blissett pass on the ensuing series and Carthage failed to capitalze on the turnover.
The Carthage defense gave another outstanding account of itself all night and gave up only 3 yards on four plays, stopping the Spartans on downs on a fourth-and-7 from the Carthage 31.
Then it was Dogs' coach Scott Surratt who decided to spice things up five plays into the next series. On second-and-8 from the Stafford 30-yard line, Blissett threw a backward pass to Townsend who then tossed it back to Blissett. Blissett rambled into the end zone to give his team the only points they would need. The touchdown came with 1 minute, 53 seconds left before intermission. The two teams went to their respective dressing rooms a short time later with Carthage leading 6-0 with the Spartans at the Bulldog 16.
The Carthage offense came to life in the second half, scoring on its first four possessions. Blissett connected with Jackson on a 33-yard touchdown pass and followed on the next series with a 6-yard TD toss to McLin to cap an 80-yard, 8-play drive, giving the Bulldogs a 20-0 advantage.
Another TD came on the next series when Ingram rambled 52 yards for the touchdown. The final score of the contest was a 7-yard run by Ingram with 6:20 remaining in the game.