It’s hard to imagine a worse place for a high school football team’s offense to find itself this fall than across the line of scrimmage from the Bishop Carroll defense.
“It’s all 11 of them out there,” Carroll coach Alan Schuckman said. “We tell them all the same thing, to get to the ball and be angry when you get there.”
That’s a scary thought considering the Golden Eagles return eight starters off of last year’s 10-1 team that made it to the Class 5A quarterfinals before losing to Salina South.
Last season, Carroll’s defense gave up an average of 11.4 points and gave up a season-high 21 points just twice — in a 56-21 win over Eisenhower and the 21-19 loss to Salina South.
Carroll’s defense has returning stars on each level — junior defensive end Nick Nolting (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), senior linebacker Tommy Marquez (6-2, 210) and safety Mark Quaney (6-foot, 190). Nolting was an All-Metro pick last season, while Marquez and Quaney were both All-City League picks.
“Because we have so many guys back, we’re starting off at a faster pace than we’re usually used to,” said Nolting, who led Carroll with 32 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. “We were a good group last year, always in the backfield, always getting to the ball.
“It’s Gang Green, you know? We’re all after the same thing.”
Marquez had 55 tackles and 12 tackles for loss last season.
“Expectations are always going to be high at Carroll, and we all want to do the best we can,” Marquez said. “It just feels good to be out there, together, working hard. Doesn’t matter where we play or who we play, we’re gonna go out and do the same thing.”
Schuckman reserved his highest praise for the safeties, Quaney and fellow senior Josh Hornback. Quaney had 63 tackles and six interceptions last season, while Hornback chipped in with 47 tackles and three interceptions. Both were starters on Carroll’s 5A title team two years ago.
“They’re as good a safety tandem as we’ve had since I’ve been here, which is saying a lot,” said Schuckman, who is entering his 20th season. “They’re just two guys that complement each other so well and play together so well.”
TOP SKILL PLAYERS
|Sept. 5||at Northwest|
|Sept. 19||Kapaun (at WSU)|
|Oct. 2||North (at Heights)|
|Oct. 17||at Maize|
|Oct. 24||at Maize South|
|Oct. 31||Valley Center|
Colton Howell on his team