WICHITA, Kan.—On the third play of the game, Heights quarterback Chris Reed took off for 49 yards and the touchdown to put the Falcons up 6-0 over Bishop Carroll. Then Carroll essentially said, ‘that was nice, now watch this.’
The Golden Eagles had a solid return on the kickoff after the touchdown. It put Carroll in good field position, but Heights forced a fourth down. QB Zeke Palmer then took the snap, ran a bootleg and took it in for the touchdown. The extra point put the green and gold ahead 7-6.
It was just the beginning of a 47-16 beat down.
Palmer went 7-for-8 through the air in the first quarter as he picked apart the young Heights defense. Immediately after Palmer went to Matt Denning on a 30-yard pass that was barely incomplete because Denning stepped out, Palmer found him again. Except this time it was a 25-yard touchdown that put the Golden Eagles ahead 14-6.
“Zeke (Palmer) is a special player, he is a special player,” said Head Coach Alan Schuckman. “I’ve been trying to tell a lot of people about him. He has the ability to run and pass and he’s a dangerous weapon.”
Once the Carroll offense had its fun, it was the defense’s turn.
Heights found itself in a hole. It was suddenly down 14-6 and on its own 12 yard line. The hole got deeper. Carroll’s Nate Stallbaumer scooped up a fumble and took into the end zone to make the score 21-6.
This was a nightmare start to the game for Heights. However, the clown hadn’t jumped out of the closet just yet.
Heights fumbled again, the only differences this time were that it was a one-yard touchdown recovery by Tory Smith. Carroll was now up 28-6 in a matter of just a few minutes.
“Defensively, I was happy,” said Schuckman. “Our defense played well. They had a lot of big stops and a lot of big turnovers and also scoop-and-score. That was huge.”
Carroll then put together a drive from its own 42-yard line capped by an eight-yard touchdown run from who else but Palmer. Heights finally got a stop in the second quarter when it held Carroll on fourth down.
The Falcons took over with some momentum, at least as much momentum as a team can have down 35-6. Heights had a few gains, a first down and looked like it was about to put a good drive together, but another fumble recovered by Carroll essentially drove the final nail in the coffin, and it was just the second quarter.
“This was a team effort,” said Schuckman. “There’s 105 of us and it’s not about one guy, it’s about the team.”
Carroll’s Smith ran the ball down to the six yard line and the Golden Eagles got to within the three, but the clock ran out when Heights’ Aderio Ammons leveled Smith in the backfield. Due to an injury, two second were put back on the clock, but Carroll was unable to get in the end zone to close the half.
Heights got a safety when it was unable to convert a fourth-and-goal from the one in the fourth quarter to make the score 41-8 in favor of Carroll. Heights’ Curtis Whitten then busted a 60-yard touchdown to make it 41-14.
Carroll’s Jalen Hernandez finished out their scoring on an 18-yard run to put Carroll up 47-14. Heights would get an essentially meaningless safety to close out the game.