WICHITA, Kan.—Bishop Carroll’s main concern for 2012 will be on the defensive side of the ball, as it returns just three players from the 2011 squad. However, the Carroll offense returns eight players, the most in the tenure of head coach Alan Schuckman.
Coach: Alan Schuckman (139-40 in 16 years at Carroll, 164-47 overall.)
2011 Recap: Finished 10-2. Lost in state semi-final game to eventual state champion Hutchinson.
Returning starters: Offense 8, Defense 3
Returning lettermen: 25
Carroll’s offensive unit returns eight players from last year’s 10-2 squad. Included in these eight players is quarterback Zeke Palmer, one of the state’s best. He had a huge 2011 with 2,173 yards passing, 523 yards rushing and 28 total touchdowns. He’s expected to have just as good of a season in 2012, and with the weapons surrounding him, it should be attained.
Standout running back Jalen Hernandez returns for his senior season and not only hopes to build off last year’s success, but expects to be better in 2012. On 133 rushes in 2011, he scored on 13 of them while racking up 708 yards. Carroll will have a big offensive line to open holes for Hernandez and keep opponents out of the backfield for Palmer. Denzel Goolsby will also run the ball for the Golden Eagles. On average, Goolsby had a season on par with Hernandez. He carried the ball 54 times for 275 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman.
The receiver corps will provide a huge boost for Palmer and the Carroll offense. Matt Denning and Matt Henning both return for their senior seasons. Denning had a huge junior year with 28 catches for 527 yards and 8 touchdowns. The 6’2” receiver will provide a big target for Palmer. Henning is looking to have a bigger senior season than his junior when he caught nine passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Lining up with Denning and Henning is Scott Linnebur, who is in his junior season. In 2011, he caught 16 passes for 160 yards and touchdown. Derek Bongartz will also line up with the receivers. Bryce Harvey, who can line up at quarterback, running back or wide receiver returns for his senior season after receiving all-city honors at wide receiver.
The Carroll defense will see only three players return from the 2011 squad, but it is a big three. Two defensive lineman in Patrick Dugan and Zach Befort will anchor the line while John Buchanan leads the secondary from the free safety position. Dugan finished his sophomore season with 23 tackles, six of them for a loss from the defensive end. Befort finished his junior season with53 tackles, six sacks and 12 for a loss.
This will be the second year in a row the Golden Eagle defense have taken a hit to graduation. It seemed to do just fine in 2011, as it allowed just 14.2 points per game and stopped the run effectively. However, the lack of size on the defensive line is a concern for the Golden Eagles as it will play several teams with an emphasis on the run, specifically in the state playoffs.
Carroll allowed a league-low 629 passing yards in 2011. Obviously, Carroll will have to replicate that number to experience the success it wants in 2012. With an almost brand-new secondary unit, it will be interesting to see if the Golden Eagles can put up the same numbers on defense as in 2011.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Carroll will see 105 players out for the football team for the first time in head coach Alan Schuckman’s career. 37 seniors have come out for this year’s squad. Again, the most in Schuckman’s career. Eight starters are returning on the offensive side of the ball, and as you can guess, it is the most in the career of Schuckman.
The Golden Eagles have played November football for the past 10 seasons and are looking to make it 11 straight years. Carroll has played for a spot in the state championship game five of the past six seasons. Carroll is going for its 18th-straight winning season, and all signs say it’s going to get it.
Carroll’s district consists of Goddard, Goddard Eisenhower and Liberal. There is a very good chance the Golden Eagles could sweep the district and secure its 11th consecutive trip to the playoffs.