When the Bishop Carroll offense is at its finest, quarterback Zeke Palmer finds his groove throwing the ball and the running game keeps the defense guessing.
And that was Carroll on Friday night in a Class 5A quarterfinal against Emporia.
The six touchdown drives in the Eagles' 40-7 victory totaled less than eight minutes combined, and Carroll will travel to Hutchinson next Friday for the semifinals. Carroll beat the Salthawks 32-24 in the 5A-District 8 finale on Oct. 28.
"You feel like you're unstoppable," said Carroll's John Linnebur, who scored twice. "Your adrenaline keeps pumping and your legs don't feel like they're tiring, your lungs don't feel like they're tiring. You just want to go out there and score, score every time."
It seemed like the offensive rampage was brought on by what could have been.
Emporia broke off a 64-yard run, then Derek Gifford scored from one yard out to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Carroll went three-and-out and Cooper Hoefling's punt was smothered and recovered by Emporia at the Carroll 10-yard line.
But a three-yard run and two incompletions coupled with a missed 25-yard field goal was all the Eagles needed to grab the momentum.
"We go down 14-0 and it's a completely different game," Carroll safety Alec Maly said.
Then, Palmer went to work. The junior rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown and threw for 163 yards and a score.
"The line, they were getting on their blocks," said Palmer. "When they do that, then there's room to work with. The receivers were running good routes and making catches. We can be pretty potent."
It helped that the Carroll defense put the clamps on another potent attack. Emporia held the ball for 32 minutes of the game, but had drives of 14 and 16 plays end without a score in the second half.
Take away the long run early and Emporia produced 212 yards on 73 plays, or less than three yards a play.
Maly returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown for the game's final score.
"It was a complete body of work," Carroll coach Alan Schuckman said. "To get to the state championship game, that's what you've got to do. You can't be good in just one area, you got to be good in all three phases."
Bishop Carroll (10-1) 14 20 6 0 — 40 Emporia (7-4) 7 0 0 0 — 7
E—Gifford 1 run (Lemus kick)
BC—Palmer 15 run (Bailey kick)
BC—J. Linnebur 30 run (Bailey kick)
BC—Denning 31 pass from Palmer (Bailey kick failed)
BC—Hernandez 3 run (Bailey kick)
BC—J. Linnebur 7 run (Bailey kick)
BC—Maly 69 punt return (Hoefling run failed)
Rushing—Emporia, Gifford 22-108, Brx. Marstall 20-36, Knight 4-26, Kuhn 2-23, Jackson 2-7. Carroll, J. Linnebur 8-95, Palmer 11-54, Goolsby 5-37, Hernandez 5-14.
Passing—Emporia, Brx. Marstall 12-24-1-76. Carroll, Palmer 9-14-0-163.
Receiving—Emporia, Eichler 5-35, Brd. Marstall 3-20, Knight 2-15, Jackson 1-6. Carroll, Harvey 2-67, Denning 2-62, Melillo 2-22, S. Linnebur 1-7, Schwindt 1-5.