Given the level of dominance Bishop Carroll’s football team has displayed this season, the occasional rough patch tends to stick out.
In its Class 5A first-round playoff game against visiting Goddard on Friday, the Golden Eagles committed three penalties on their opening series. They were unsuccessful on half of their 10 extra-point attempts. There was a dropped pass or two.
But Carroll’s good side can be equally eye-catching. Like in the second quarter, when Josh Hornback and Mark Quaney returned interceptions for touchdowns in a stretch of five plays. Those allowed the top-ranked Eagles to settle in and roll over Goddard 67-0, giving Carroll a victory in their playoff opener for the 10th consecutive season.
Carroll (10-0) will play Heights (8-2), a 10-7 winner over Salina Central, in next Friday’s quarterfinals. The Eagles walloped Heights 70-15 in the fourth week of the regular season.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“These guys have been part of a team that’s been there,” said Carroll coach Alan Schuckman, referring to his 2012 championship team. “They understand you’ve got to give your best effort every night.
“I think they understand, but sometimes I feel like they think I might be messing with them.”
There was little cause for concern on Friday, as Carroll’s defense returned three of Goddard freshman Blake Sullivan’s four interceptions for touchdowns. Sullivan started in place of junior Kyle Young, whom Lions coach Scott Vang said was out after experiencing concussion-like symptoms in the middle of the week.
Goddard also played without injured running back Dakota Driskill, who ran for 196 yards in the regular-season finale against Eisenhower. Carroll limited the Lions to 68 yards.
“Our defense does an amazing job week in and week out,” Carroll running back Denzel Goolsby said. “They always have our backs. It doesn’t mean that the offense can relax, but we always know that they’ll be there for us, and that’s a comforting thing.”
Goolsby, a Kansas State recruit, helped the Eagles’ offense pull its share of the load. He ran for 210 yards on 13 carries, opening the third quarter with touchdown bursts of 80 and 45 yards that stretched Carroll’s lead to 54-0.
Quarterback Colton Howell was also effective, completing 8 of 13 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including an 18-yard connection with Goolsby on a fourth-and-8 play midway through the second quarter.
Howell also ran for 68 yards on 10 carries, part of Carroll’s 316-yard rushing night.
“It would have been a tall order for us with Kyle and Dakota,” Vang said. “It got even taller without them.
“We’re just not at their level. … I thought we played hard. We were where we needed to be. We just couldn’t make the plays because we got out-athleted and out-seniored.”
Brian Karst delivered Carroll’s third pick six from 30 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. Austin Weber added a 29-yard touchdown run for the Eagles as the game’s final 21 minutes were played with a running clock.
Schuckman and his coaches gathered in an end zone after the game to monitor the final minutes of Heights’ victory. Up next for his team, which has outscored opponents 546-51, is another home playoff game against a familiar foe.
“This was the week last year that we lost,” Schuckman said. “So I think it’s an important week for us.”
BC—Dunmire 35 pass from Howell (Lopez kick)
BC—Howell 13 run (kick failed)
BC—Hornback 27 interception return (Lopez kick)
BC—Quaney 36 interception return (kick failed)
BC—Goolsby 18 pass from Howell (kick failed)
BC—Safety, punt snap through end zone
BC—Goolsby 3 run (kick blocked)
BC—Goolsby 80 run (Lopez kick)
BC—Goolsby 45 run (Lopez kick)
BC—Karst 30 interception return (kick failed)
BC—Weber 29 run (Lopez kick)
Rushing—Goddard, Williams 11-27, Adamson 5-15, Palmer 9-6, Dayton Driskill 1-(-2), Sullivan 4-(-29). Carroll, Goolsby 13-210, Howell 10-68, Weber 3-39, Allen 2-(-1).
Passing—Goddard, Sullivan 7-21-51-4. Carroll, Howell 8-13-103-0.
Receiving—Goddard, L. Vang 2-30, Harrington 3-16, Cooke 1-6, Adamson 1-(-1). Carroll, Dunmire 2-46, Goolsby 1-18, Leland 2-15, Bailey 1-10, Bell 1-10, Sanders 1-4.