Heights football coach Rick Wheeler heaped praise on defensive coordinator Steve Martin moments after the Falcons’ defense finished pummeling visiting Bishop Carroll in a 21-0 season-opening victory Friday night.
“I’m the offensive coach, and we have to practice against them every day,” said Wheeler, whose team is ranked third in Class 6A. “They can be so incredibly frustrating for the offense because they are so good. And Coach Martin, he had a great plan.”
On Carroll’s first possession, Heights senior Dominique Henderson chased down Carroll senior quarterback Tyler Nance for a sack. On the game’s final play, senior Justin Reynolds sacked Nance for a 13-yard loss. The Falcons had four sacks.
The defense broke through Carroll’s offensive line consistently, chasing Nance out of the pocket and creating havoc in the backfield.
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“We thought we needed to get to Nance early and get him to have happy feet in the pocket,” Martin said. “He’s a tough kid, though, and he stood in there.”
Nance finished with 57 rushing yards and completed 9 of 19 passes for 63 yards. Running back Brandon Weber finished with 41 rushing yards.
The Eagles, ranked fourth in Class 5A, had opportunities, starting in Heights territory three times in the first half. But they missed two field goals and, with 12 seconds remaining in the first half, missed a free kick from the 40.
Heights halted Carroll twice inside the 5-yard-line.
“I credit their defense,” Carroll coach Alan Schuckman said. “They stiffened up. They stopped us four times inside the 20. I was curious to see where we’re at, and I guess I found out. We’ll be a much better football team this Thursday (at South).”
On one play near the goal line, Weber took a big hit, then Nance, who had the ball, did, too. The hits were so hard, they were heard clearly in the stands.
“We’ve got a fast D-line,” Henderson said. “We use it to our advantage. We ain’t that big, but we’re fast. As bad as they beat us last year, that’s how much I wanted to get (into their backfield).”
Carroll defeated Heights 28-0 in the 2009 opener.
Heights’ offense was solid behind quarterback Matt Reed, who took the majority of the snaps. He completed 3 of 4 for 49 yards and added 68 rushing yards.
The Falcons scored on three big plays. Dreamius Smith got around the left end late in the first quarter and raced for a 44-yard touchdown. He finished with 90 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Late in the second quarter, Daniel Deshazer raced 24 yards for a score. He also caught two 31-yard passes, the second a touchdown from Smith in the third for a 21-0 lead.
“How many (5-foot-4) guys play at that level?” Wheeler asked about Deshazer. “He’s just such a tremendous athlete.”
Carroll (0-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Heights (1-0) 7 7 7 0 — 21
H—Smith 44 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Deshazer 24 run (Hoyer kick)
H—Deshazer 31 pass from Smith (Hoyer kick)
Rushing—Carroll, Nance 16-78, Weber 19-41, Crippen 2-0. Heights, Smith 12-90, Reed 13-68, Deshazer 7-36, Wilcoxson 1-5, Jones 2-2, Moreland 1-(-3).
Passing—Carroll, Nance 9-19-63-0, Crippen 0-1-0-0. Heights, Reed 3-4-49-0, Smith 1-1-31-0, Moreland 0-1-0-1.
Receiving—Carroll, Crippen 5-31, Denning 1-14, Weber 2-12, Brittain 1-6. Heights, Deshazer 2-62, Iheme 1-11, Powell 1-7.