Carroll County football battled back from a 38-20 second half deficit only to fall five points short at Louisville Moore on Friday night.

The Panthers trailed 20-13 at halftime and 38-20 in the third quarter - due in large part to a Moore blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and a kickoff return that also went for a score - only to end up losing 38-33 in Louisville.

"There were a couple of big momentum changers," Carroll assistant coach J.P. Dale said. "We had a couple of pass interference calls that hurt us and they had a couple of big returns that helped them.

"We knew Moore was the type of team that if they got any momentum at all they would be set and that's what happened," Dale added.

Carroll actually scored first on a John Michael Adams to Blake Newby 5-yard touchdown pass and Taylor Byrd drilled the kick for a 7-0 lead with 5:23 left in the first quarter.

Moore then scored back-to-back touchdowns - a 12-yard run by quarterback Jarrod David and a 1-yard plunge by Demontray Watts - to take a 12-7 lead before the Panthers' Michael Welch answered with a 56-yard run with 9:46 left before halftime to stake the Panthers to their final lead of the night at 13-12.

That's when Carroll County penalties helped the Mustangs take the lead for good on a 6-yard run by Watts with 1:46 before halftime. The Moore drive was extended by a couple of pass interference calls that turned third and long situations into Moore first downs en route to the 20-13 halftime lead.

"We have had some pass interference calls against us the first three weeks," Dale said. "We know what we're doing wrong and what to do right. A lot of times they don't hurt us but tonight they did."

While the penalties gave the Mustangs the lead, Carroll turnovers in the third quarter helped Moore build a cushion that would hold up the rest of the way.

Carroll had possession of the ball to start the second half and opted to punt when that drive stalled. However, the kick ended up being blocked with Moore's Shaun Whittinghill scooping up the ball and running it into the end zone from 47 yards out for a 26-13 lead with 10:10 left in the third quarter.

Carroll answered that turnover touchdown with the first of three second half touchdown runs by Keifer McIntyre - a 29-yard jaunt with 7:58 left in the period that made it 26-20 after Byrd's PAT.

But just when the Panthers were regaining some momentum, Carroll's ensuing kickoff was gathered in by Moore's Deron Osbourne, who galloped 81 yards into the end zone just 17 seconds later for a TD return and a 32-20 lead. Moore (1-2) then struck for a 49-yard touchdown pass from Watts to Osbourne with 3:11 left in the third and a 38-20 lead.

Carroll got touchdown runs by McIntyre - a 6-yarder with 1:33 left in the third and a 2-yarder with 5:39 left in the fourth - but the Panthers could never overcome the 18-point deficit. Carroll had two shots at a game-winner in the final 3:30 when Welch recovered a fumble just 40 yards from the end zone and the Panthers later took the ball over on downs with 1:30 left.

The first drive stalled on a procedure penalty and a fourth down play that Moore snuffed at the line. The second drive ended on an Adams interception in the end zone.

The Panthers out-gained the Mustangs 302-75 on the ground but Moore had 12 catches for 222 yards to Carroll's five receptions for 72 yards. Both teams had 12 first downs and Carroll was penalized seven times for 55 yards and Moore seven times for 65 yards.

According to Dale, the difference in the end was tackling - Carroll just didn't do that well enough - in the first half especially.

"We didn't tackle the whole first half. We've played pretty good defense the last two weeks but we had a lot of reaching and grabbing tonight and Moore is awfully athletic," Dale said. "It's hard for us to simulate their speed."

McIntyre rushed 15 times for 120 yards and Welch carried seven times for 71. Kyle Prosser carried 10 times for 59 yards and Newby ran seven times for 25 yards.

The Panthers, now 1-2, will be back in Jefferson County for their next game when Carroll visits Kentucky Country Day on Friday.