Carthage

CARTHAGE — It took a few plays for the Carthage passing game to get clicking in Friday night’s home opener against Liberty-Eylau.

But once it started, there didn’t appear to be a button to turn it off — at least in the first half.

Kai Horton threw five first-half touchdown passes and Kelvontay Dixon was on the receiving end of two of them as the Bulldogs built a big halftime lead and never looked back cruising to a 49-7 win over the Leopards.

The Bulldogs improve to 2-0 on the season and will host the Marshall Mavericks next Friday night in a 7:30 p.m. game. The Leopards fall to 0-2.

In all, Horton was 16 of 22 passing for 275 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Carthage did score on its first possession, it just took almost eight minutes to get into the end zone. Mason Courtney did the honors, going in from the 1.

The second TD came a lot quicker after a 3-and-out by the defense — which played another exceptional ballgame.

Horton hooked up with Quinton Owens on a 3-yard touchdown and the score was quickly 14-0.

The Leopards kept the Bulldogs from pitching a second shutout on the young season, scoring from long distance as Korbyn White went up for and caught a pass the defender misplayed, showing his speed on the way for a 50-yard touchdown.

That must have made the Bulldogs mad because they responded with a 35-point second quarter.

Dixon, who finished with four catches for 111 yards, hooked up with Horton on a short pass and took it 25 yards for the score, going the last five yards carrying at least two Leopards and running over a third at the goal line.

Montrell Smith caught a 3-yard touchdown from Horton to make it a 28-7 lead.

The defense set up the next score as Desmond Hicks picked off a screen pass deep in Leopard territory. Courtney took it in from the 10 to add to the lead.

Dixon showed why he is one of the top area players on the next drive as he and Horton hooked up for their second TD.

Faced with a second-and-31 after an intentional grounding call, Dixon ran a skinny post to get back all the yardage in one play. Actually, he got a little more as he caught the pass in stride and pulled away from the defenders for a 69-yard touchdown.

The Leopards gave Carthage the ball back at the 30 with time running out in the half and the Bulldogs were more than happy to take advantage of it.

Horton and Kel Williams hooked up on a 23-yard touchdown with 29.2 left to make it a 49-7 at the half.

Despite substituting freely in the second half and Bulldogs didn’t allow a second touchdown. They didn’t score one either as they made two trips into the Red Zone but came away empty both times. They were stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 and missed a 30-yard field goal.