There’s a reason Bishop Carroll was trying an onside kick early in the second quarter against Heights with a 21-2 lead. And throwing a touchdown pass late in the first half to make it 42-2.
The Golden Eagles are going to need to do these things sometime this season. I heard some Heights fans grumbling about poor sportsmanship, but that’s not what this is. It’s Carroll doing what it has to do to stay sharp in a City League not equipped to put up much of a fight.
Heights might be the second-best team in the City League this season. The Falcons, like Carroll, were 3-0 going into Friday night’s 70-15 loss. They were ranked No. 2 in Class 5A behind the Golden Eagles.
Is there really a 55-point disparity between the two-best teams in 5A? The two-best teams in the City League?
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I don’t know about 5A, but there’s a stark lopsidedness to City League football these days. It’s Carroll and everybody else. The Eagles have outscored their four league opponents 218-36. And Northwest (43-14), East (56-0), Kapaun Mount Carmel (49-7) and Heights are respectable teams.
Until they play Carroll.
Coach Alan Schuckman, in his 20th year, runs a football factory. There are 99 players listed on the Eagles’ roster and they all have been groomed since they were the third and fourth grades to learn the Carroll way.
It’s something to watch.
Senior quarterback Colton Howell and senior running back Denzel Goolsby were in particularly good form Friday and Heights never had a chance, not even after taking a 2-0 lead on an early safety following a bad Carroll snap on a punt.
That was a mistake. Heights is still waiting for the Eagles to make another one.
The game went south in a hurry.
Goolsby scored five touchdowns, three on the ground and two on pass receptions. Howell ran for two touchdowns and passed for two.
“They were better than us tonight, there’s no doubt,” Heights coach Terry Harrison said. “We’ve got a lot to fix.”
Actually, the rest of the City League has a lot to fix. Carroll has set the bar high. Competing against the Eagles isn’t going to be easy. But this much of a disparity between the Carroll and the other eight teams isn’t good for the league. It’s not even good for Carroll.
Winning by 55 points might feel good at the time, but the Eagles are eventually going to run into a team that will test team. It could happen in district play this season against Maize and Maize South. Or definitely in the playoffs.
It’s just too bad it’s not happening in the City League.
I don’t know the answer, either. I just know that Carroll’s dominance isn’t good for the league.
It wasn’t long ago that the Heights-Carroll rivalry was up for grabs and the highlight of every City League football season. But it takes four or five good teams, and another couple that are capable of pulling upsets, for a league to flourish.
Right now, it’s Carroll and everybody else.
“That team is a lot better than they showed tonight,” Schuckman said of the Falcons.
And he’s right. I don’t know what happened to Heights on Friday. Maybe the Falcons were still feeling the effects of a tough 26-21 win at Dodge City last week. Maybe they were too amped up to play Carroll.
Or maybe the Eagles are just this good.
They dominated both lines of scrimmages. Goolsby and Howell, in particular, were able to run free. Howell got plenty of time in the pocket while Heights’ offense was forced to rush everything because of Carroll’s defensive pressure.
It just got worse and worse until it couldn’t get any worse.
“We just have one offensive lineman back from last year and we had one starter out tonight,” Schuckman said. “A lot of the guys out there tonight for us were JV guys last year.”
The thing is, Carroll’s JV would probably finish in the upper half of the City League. Don’t take that the wrong way. This is a league with a lot of proud history. Teams that are down now – South, East, North, Southeast, West – are teams that have been successful in the past. Teams with tradition.
The City League needs some balance. It’s great to have an outstanding team like Carroll in any league. But it’s not good when a team like Carroll averages 54.5 points against four teams that on paper should be competing better.
It’s hard to build programs at some of these schools. Coaching turnover has been high. Finding players has been difficult.
And playing against Carroll shines a bright light on every flaw.
The Eagles are that good. And the rest of the football teams in the City League have to find ways to get better.