ELEVATING THEIR GAME: Carroll County wide receiver David Duncan (5) and quarterback Andre Mumphrey (3) celebrate after a touchdown in last Friday’s KHSAA Class 2A Gridiron Football Playoff opening win. Duncan, the Panthers’ top receiver with 27 catches for 525 yards and eight touchdowns, and Mumphrey, the Panthers’ top rusher with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with 877 yards passing and 14 scores, will both need to be in top form Friday when Carroll plays at No. 4 Glasgow in the regional semifinals. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
ELEVATING THEIR GAME: Carroll County wide receiver David Duncan (5) and quarterback Andre Mumphrey (3) celebrate after a touchdown in last Friday’s KHSAA Class 2A Gridiron Football Playoff opening win. Duncan, the Panthers’ top receiver with 27 catches for 525 yards and eight touchdowns, and Mumphrey, the Panthers’ top rusher with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with 877 yards passing and 14 scores, will both need to be in top form Friday when Carroll plays at No. 4 Glasgow in the regional semifinals. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Carroll County’s football team has had a magical 2018 campaign, but the Panthers have not faced an opponent like the one they’ll see on Friday.

Carroll will make the long trip to Glasgow to take on the fourth-ranked Glasgow Scotties in the second round of the KHSAA Class 2A Gridiron Football Playoffs at 8 p.m. EDT.

Glasgow enters the game with a 10-1 record and a roster that features several NCAA Division I prospects, a rarity among 2A schools. The Scotties also have the best rushing attack in the Commonwealth and average just over 40 points per game.

Carroll County coach Hunter Cantwell knows all too well how good Glasgow is. But he also believes that his team has what it takes to pull off the upset.

“It’s the best team we’ll see all year. They’ve got some D-I caliber athletes all over the field. They’ve got some players that would be big-name guys if not for some of the guys around them but they’re playing supporting roles.” Cantwell said. “We’ve got to come out and we’ve got to play our style of football. We’ve got to clean up the sloppiness. If we do that, they’re not invincible. We’ll take our shots and if our guys can make plays like we know they can, we feel good about going down there and competing.”

Arguably Glasgow’s best player won’t have many statistics to his name. Senior Tanner Bowles, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound left tackle, has already committed with Alabama after considering offers from Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville and LSU. He is listed as the fourth-best college prospect in the state by 247sports.com.

With such a highly recruited left tackle, it’s not surprising that Glasgow has taken every opportunity to run behind him and junior running back Nick Mitchell has responded by leading Class 2A in rushing with 1,795 yards on 247 carries with 26 touchdowns.

That combination of Bowles blocking and Mitchell running will be Carroll’s top priority on defense.

“They’re very fortunate that like us, they have a large roster and most guys only have to play on one side of the ball and (Bowles) only plays one way,” Cantwell said. “They are able to bring guys onto the field in different phases who are fresh and we’ve got to make sure that we attack, no matter how tired we are or how many plays we’ve been on the field.”

While Glasgow runs for a lot of yards, the Scotties have also thrown for their share of yards. Junior quarterback Tanner Abernathy has completed 78 of 137 passes for 1,045 yards and 18 touchdowns, but also has been intercepted 13 times. Abernathy has rushed for 646 yards on 89 carries with five scores.

Abernathy’s favorite targets are a pair of juniors. Kynarious Flynt has caught 24 passes for 350 yards and five touchdowns while Jaden Franklin has 26 receptions for 307 yards and eight scores.

“We need to make sure that we’re sound in our tackling technique and we can do it. We’ve got some speed on the defensive side of the ball and we’ve got some size,” Cantwell said. “Our guys can get it done, it’s just a matter of going out and executing.”

On offense, Carroll will try to rebound from a rough game in the opener that saw quarterback Andre Mumphrey throw three interceptions and the Panthers struggle to put together consistent drives. Mumphrey still leads the team in both passing and rushing, with 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air and 877 yards and 14 scores on the ground. David Duncan has 27 catches for 525 yards and eight touchdowns.

“(Glasgow) is a very good defensive football team. They’re very aggressive and they like to put a lot of guys in the box and leave their athletes on the perimeter on an island,” Cantwell said. “So we’re going to have to take some shots in the passing game but we’re going to have to be able to run it between the tackles too. We’ll have to be able to protect Andre when he’s back there and drive people off the tackle in the box and try to keep their running back off the field for as long as possible.”

The winner of the Carroll County-Glasgow game will face either Walton-Verona or Monroe County in the regional final next week.