Comparing this Bishop Carroll football team to 2014’s unbeaten, Class 5A title team is patently unfair.
The Eagles’ starting defense gave up seven points, which came in the first half of the 5A championship.
The offense scored 682 points and had 4,957 yards, 98 touchdowns.
A special team was decimated with graduation, including eight defensive starters. And running back Denzel Goolsby, who earned Eagle Top 11 honors and had 1,641 rushing yards, is at Kansas State, while quarterback Colton Howell (1,531 passing yards, 834 rushing) graduated, as well.
“A state title is the expectation that has been set by the teams before us,” said Carroll coach Alan Schuckman, who is in his 21st season and has won 5A titles twice in three seasons. “We’re not going out there to be second place. We understand that it’s never easy. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been 36-1 the last three years. It doesn’t seem like that.”
Carroll’s defense will look dramatically different with Christopher Dugan, Will Honas and Evan Nichols as the lone returning starters.
“The thing we can’t do as coaches or fans is we can’t get caught up in, ‘This defense isn’t as good as last year’s,’” Schuckman said. “I’ve never coached one that was.… If we give up a touchdown Week 1 (against Northwest), we can’t go in the tank.
“We’ll have some good competition, some good young kids that will be fighting for playing time.”
While the 2014 defense was entrenched with the same players, Schuckman expects to play as many as eight defensive linemen, seven defensive backs and six linebackers through the course of a game.
“I feel like we have a lot of talent in these young guys,” Nichols said. “We can be faster than last year. They might be smaller, but they’re wily and a lot faster.”
Offensively, senior Noah Johnson, a 2014 All-Metro selection, leads the line, while Jake Allen takes over at quarterback. Adam Theis and Ty Seyfert will get the majority of carries.
“A lot of people haven’t heard about Jake Allen, unless they watched (junior varsity) games,” Schuckman said. “He’ll be put in a situation where he’s ready for it. He’s ready, and this is his team.”
Schuckman has a similar view regarding Theis and Syfert.
“Those two guys have waited around,” he said. “They’ll both be on the field. That’s the good thing about those kids — their concerns are about being productive and winning, not stats.”