EMPORIA — Bishop Carroll football coach Alan Schuckman walked to the locker room, alone, about 20 minutes after his team’s 35-14 loss to Blue Valley in the Class 5A championship game.
His team, and most of the fans that had come to console and congratulate players, had already dissipated from the west half of the field at Welch Stadium. Perhaps Schuckman just wanted a little time to himself before he and his team drove back to Wichita. Or maybe he just wanted a little more time to reflect on what happened.
“When you get to this game you’ve game you’ve got to play great,” Schuckman said. “We didn’t play great. I’ll go back and re-evaluate my job and see if there’s anything I could have done differently to prepare us. I’ll take the blame because we just didn’t get it done.”
It was Carroll’s second loss in the Class 5A title game in four years, losing to Blue Valley West in 2007.
Blue Valley didn’t exactly blow Carroll out of the water Saturday afternoon. It held a 28-7 lead at half time, but it took advantage of Golden Eagles turnovers. Carroll had only turned the ball over nine times in its 12 games prior to the Class 5A championship, but had four turnovers against Blue Valley in the first half.
“We practiced it all week,” Carroll quarterback Tyler Nance said. “We knew what they were going to do. We just didn’t execute, and we turned the ball over way too many times.”
Blue Valley’s defense smothered Nance and running back Brandon Weber in the backfield. Weber suffered a sprained left ankle in his team’s 21-0 win over Hutchinson last week and could only muster 15 of his team’s 93 rushing yards on eight carries. He reinjured his ankle in the second half.
Blue Valley led 21-0 in the second quarter before Carroll got on the board with a trick play — as Carroll lined up on fourth-and-2 from the Blue Valley 13-yard line, Danny Crippen pretended to sprint off the field like he was an extra player. He wasn’t. He was an eligible receiver, and Nance hit him with a touchdown pass.
That play capped a 10-play, 71-yard drive that was set up by an Aaron Jackson interception. Nance was 4 for 4 on the drive for 56 yards. He finished 10 for 19 with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Every time Carroll got an ounce of momentum, Blue Valley first-year coach Eric Driskell was there to counter and knock the wind out of its sails. Driskell took advantage of an aggressive Carroll defense and played to his team’s strength — quarterback Kyle Zimmerman. Less than one minute after Carroll’s trick play, Zimmerman drew in a Carroll blitz and hit running back Justin Fulks for a 59-yard pass that set up an 5-yard touchdown pass to Paul DeBey to give his team a 28-7 lead going into the half.
“They’re fast,” Driskell said. “They can run at the football. They are the best defense that we’ve played. Our kids just did a good job of making some connections and taking advantage of how fast they were at overpursuing, and made some thing happen.”
Carroll has lost in the 5A title game twice in the last four years. The Eagles last won a championship in 1978.
Blue Valley 6 22 7 0—35
Bishop Carroll 0 7 7 0—14
BV—Johnson 32 FG
BV—Johnson 34 FG
BV—Fulks 8 pass form Zimmerman (Hamblin pass from Zimmerman)
BV—Fulks 7 run (Johnson kick)
BC—Crippen 13 pass from Nance (Louthan kick)
BV—DeBey 5 pass from Zimmerman (Johnson kick)
BV—DeBey 9 pass from Zimmerman (Johnson kick)
BC—Brittain 11 pass from Nance (Louthan kick)
Rushing—Blue Valley, Fulks 27-76, Zimmerman 6-6, Hayden 1-2. Carroll, Hernandez 5-50, Nance 19-28, Weber 8-15 Crippen 1-1.
Passing—Blue Valley, Zimmerman 18-32-251-2. Carroll, Nance10-19-28-2, Palmer 1-0-1.
Receving—Blue Valley, DeBey 7-90, McDermott 5-82, Fulks 4-73, Katsorelos 2-6. Carroll, Crippen 3-23, Weber 2-29, Brittain 2-12, Rohleder 2-11, Woodard 1-3.