Bishop Carroll cruises to 5A championship

By: David Svoboda PrepsKC staff writer
November 25, 2012 - 1:02 AM

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After starting the season with a 2-4 record through six games, Bishop Miege went on an incredible 5-1 run over its second six contests to reach the Kansas Class 5A State Championship game.
 
But when the Stags faced off with Bishop Carroll in Emporia on Saturday for the crown, a second comeback from a seemingly insurmountable deficit was not to be.
 
The Golden Eagles rolled to a 53-point lead and held off Miege 60-21 to end the Stag season with Miege one victory short of finishing off the Cinderella story.
 
Miege fumbled four times and lost three, and senior quarterback Montell Cozart threw two interceptions in the defeat. And with Carroll entering the game with a 12-0 record and a myriad of offensive weapons, it was simply too much to overcome.
 
“We knew we couldn’t turn the ball over,” Bishop Miege Coach Jon Holmes, who completed his first season as the Stag head man with a State runner-up finish said. “But we turned the ball over… gave them some points.
 
“They’re a great football team, and we knew we couldn’t get down against them.”
 
But “get down” the Stags did, in large part because of their own inability to generate anything on offense. The six Miege possessions in the opening quarter ended like this: fumble, interception, punt, punt, interception, and punt.
 
Throw in the play of Carroll senior quarterback Zeke Palmer, who made sure his team took advantage of every opportunity, and things got ugly in a hurry.
 
Palmer rushed for a game-high 146 yards and threw for 206 more – and two scores – in leading the Golden Eagles to the title. Cozart ran for 97 and threw for 186 in the loss for Miege.
 
Despite their team’s inability to overcome a superior opponent on the game’s biggest stage – in a State title game – both Holmes and Cozart were proud of how far the Stags had come.
 
“When we were 2-4, everyone knew we were a great football team,” Cozart said of the attitude shared by his teammates and their coaches.  “Everyone around us didn’t believe it, but everyone inside the program knew we could bounce back.”
 
And bounce back they did, behind the guiding influence of their first-year coach, who chose instead to credit his seniors for the turnaround.
 
“It was an up and down ride,” Holmes said of the year. “These seniors mean the world to this team and to me. They fought their butts off all year long for us. They came in as 4A state champs their freshman year and they left as runner-ups in Class 5A and lost to a very good football team today.”
 
And Carroll showed how good of a complete team it was in an outing that was impressive from the outset.
 
Four different Carroll players scored in the opening half as the Golden Eagles blasted their way to a 40-7 advantage.
After two fairly quick Carroll TDs had it 13-0 with 7:17 left in the first quarter, Miege settled in a bit over the next nine minutes.
 
Even after Carroll’s Jalen Hernandez scored his second TD to put the Eagles up 20-0 with 10:13 left in the half, Miege’s defense stiffened and the clock wound its way toward the half.
 
That’s before the disastrous final 2:36.
 
Carroll scored 20 points in that span – spotting Miege a TD in the process – to turn what was a 3-score game into a laugher.
 
The Eagles’ Tory Smith scored two of those TDs, and the Miege touchdown came when Blake Schnieders fell on a Yale VanDyne fumble in the end zone following a VanDyne catch and run.
 
Carroll amassed 363 yards of total offense – a nicely-balanced 179 on the ground and 184 through the air – in the opening 24 minutes.
 
Things went from bad to worse in the third quarter, with Carroll’s Denzel Goolsby scoring two TDs on the ground, and Michael Leonard scooping up a fumble and rumbling in from 41 yards out for the score that made it 60-7 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
 
The two Miege fourth-quarter TDs were too little, too late…and Carroll had its crown.

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Bishop Carroll, Bishop Miege, Class 5A, State Championship