BASCOM - Just once in the second half, Hopewell-Loudon could have used a Powers outage. Instead, Carey's Bryan Powers outed the Chieftains for good.
The standout junior running back came up big in multiple ways and scored five touchdowns, including two in a 32-second turnaround span, to lead the Blue Devils to a 54-47 win here Friday.
Carey improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in Midland Athletic League play. The Blue Devils are in position gain at least a co-championship in this final MAL season if they can win at home against Seneca East next week.
The Chieftains had a shot at working back into the title picture, but will now have to settle for playing spoiler. They host MAL co-leader Calvert to close the season.
This latest Blue Devil win wasn't exactly the way coach Todd Worst envisioned it.
"In my nightmares, maybe," Worst said. "That never entered my mind that we would give up that many points.
Hopewell-Loudon did a good job starting the game and we gave them a few opportunities we shouldn't have.
"For some reason, I don't know, maybe the ball was covered with butter," he said. "We couldn't hang onto it at all and they took advantage of it."
Two turnovers led to two Chieftain scores in a little more than two minutes.
Cody Malone covered a Carey fumble on the game's second play to set up the first of six TD passes thrown by Chieftain junior Derek Runion. He hit Eli Tooker on a slant and Tooker raced in for a 39-yard score.
Two plays later, H-L's Ryan Lommerse nailed Carey quarterback Matthew Holsinger with a blind-side hit just as he was attempting a pass. Zach Clouse picked it off and returned for a score to make it 14-0 with 9:43 still showing on the first-quarter clock.
"I was thinking this can't be happening again. We did this once this year," Worst said referring to his team's 44-14 loss to Calvert. "That was football suicide."
Carey had four first-half turnovers and three became Chieftains touchdowns. Matt Huth's recovery set up a 13-yard Runion-to-Lommerse TD with 17 seconds left for a 27-18 halftime edge.
Even at that, H-L coach Jeremy Nutter lamented one score he thought got away. Lommerse jumped on a muffed kickoff on the Carey 40 but the Chieftains couldn't convert.
"You'd like to think 47 would have been enough," Nutter said. "Seven of those were on a defensive score and you knew you were probably going to have to have one of those to beat a team like Carey.
"We missed one right at the very end of the half that I thought we could have gotten," he said. "We had a wide open wide receiver and the pass just barely missed him. Those things happen."
Hopewell-Loudon's other first-half score was Runion's 23-yard pass to Logan Tyree but the Blue Devils managed to stay in striking distance on touchdown runs of 42 and 27 yards by Powers and a 2-yard slam by Zach Brodman.
Much of the second half was a scoring exchange. Powers hit a 13-yard run but H-L countered with Runion's 16-yard toss to Tooker.
Then Terry Nordyke scored from 23 yards out, but Runion and Tooker hooked up again, this time for a 48-yard score that made it 40-32 with 11:51 to play.
That's when Powers, who finished with 188 yards on 16 carries, really went to work.
It began with a 9-yard touchdown to cap a five-play 58-yard drive. His run for the extras tied the game at 40.
Two plays later, Powers intercepted a Runion pass at the 40 and returned it to the H-L 12. A penalty advanced the ball to the 6. Powers took it in on the first snap and ran for the extras again to give Carey its first lead at 48-40 with 9:14 to play.
"No answers for him, I don't know what to say," Nutter said. "He's quite an athlete and an explosive player.
"Really, in the second half, it was the first team to get a stop and they got it with that pick," Nutter said. "He made a nice play and they held serve from there, so to speak."
Nordyke gave Carey a little breathing room at 54-40 with a 46-yard scoring run but the Chieftains drew to within seven on Runion's 9-yard TD pass to Jordan Stewart with 2:22 to go.
An onside kick failed and the Blue Devils ran out the clock.
Nordyke backed Powers with 151 yards on 14 carries and Holsinger added 134 yards on 17 tries. The Blue Devils totaled 487 on the ground.
"Like everybody else, we've had some injuries to deal with and right now, we've lost a few more guys on defense than offense," Worst said. "Our offense is still looking pretty solid, but hey, we can't try to outscore everybody every week. I don't like having to do that."
Meanwhile, Runion connected on 21-of-39 passes for 366 yards.
"It was a bit of a coming out party for him," Nutter said. "I think Carey decided they were going to take (running back) Cody Malone away. When you do that, we can hurt you other ways and we did."
But in the end, the Blue Devils still had the Powers.