By EARL WATT • Daily Leader
WICHITA — Six big plays separated the Liberal Redskins and Bishop Carroll Eagles Friday night in Wichita and made a competitive game appear to be a 62-32 rout.
Despite the disparity in score, the Redskins only gave up four plays of more than 20 yards. But three of those went for touchdowns on blown coverages and a strong run by Carroll. Two other plays that hurt the Redskins were shotgun snaps that ended in a 20-yard loss in one case and a safety in the other. Other than those six plays, the Redskins went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 team in Class 5A. Tyler Sutherland led the Redskins with three receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown, and 52 yards on 12 carries on the ground. Eric Brown made a touchdown reception as well. Slader McVey passed for 165 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for a touchdown in the loss. “I was pleased with the way the offense moved the ball,” Liberal coach Tom Schroeder said. “I felt we could. We just got in to a hole and couldn’t dig out of it. A couple of times we had some bad snaps. Those were some things that got to a young quarterback.” One luxury McVey had was protection. The Redskin front line provided the sophomore quarterback time to survey the field, and when a receiver was not available, McVey would avoid the first line of rushers and scramble upfield. McVey rushed for 58 yards on seven carries including a touchdown. While Carroll won by 30, the difference was only 15 with 11 minutes to play. That’s when two big plays for Carroll put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter including a 67 yard touchdown run and a 22-yard touchdown pass on third-and-10. The Redskins struck first, scoring on a 22-yard Nate Davis run after Bishop Carroll muffed a punt by Austen Pitts. But the Golden Eagles answered on the ensuing kick-off, returning the ball 96 yards to tie the score, 6-6. Carroll broke the tie midway through the first quarter when a shotgun snap between Kevin Lam and McVey squirted free, and McVey covered it in the end zone for a safety. Following the free kick, Carroll took advantage of the short field and marched 47 yards on four plays capped off by a 17-yard touchdown run by quarterback Blake Bell for a 14-6 Carroll lead. And the Redskins came right back with a 13-play, 51-yard drive that reached the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown pass from McVey to Brown to narrow the score to 14-12. The scoring frenzy continued with a 71-yard, 11-play drive for the Golden Eagles that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Bell to Joe Brown to put the Golden Eagles up 21-12. Liberal set up shop at the 22 yard line, but another errant snap over McVey’s head was recovered by McVey at the 2 yard line. The Redskins were forced to punt, and Carroll had another short field opportunity. And they took advantage. Carroll moved the ball 42 yards on four plays that included a 32-yard touchdown pass to Blake Rollins to give Carroll a 28-12 lead. Carroll received the second half kick-off and marched 68 yards on nine plays that ended with a 13-yard touchdown run for Brown and a 34-12 Carroll lead. Liberal scored on its first possession of the half as well, marching 64 yards on seven plays that was capped off with a 37-yard touchdown pass from McVey to Sutherland to bring the game back to a two-score affair, 34-18. Carroll moved the ball from its own 16 yard line to the Redskin 25 on nine plays, but ran out of downs when three consecutive Bell passes fell incomplete, and the Redskins took over with a chance to bring the game to a single-score difference. Liberal moved the ball to its own 45 yard line but could not convert a third-and-five and was forced to punt. The Redskins defense forced a fourth-consecutive Bell incompletion and then dropped Blake Rollins for a four-yard loss. But a missed assignment in the defensive backfield led to an 83-yard touchdown reception on third-and-14 from Bell to Brown and a 41-18 lead. The Redskins continued to score with a six-play 68-yard drive to bring the game back to a two-score difference, 41-26. But the Carroll used another big play — a 67-yard Rollins run up the middle — to stretch the lead back to 48-26. Carroll intercepted a McVey pass deep in Liberal territory on the next drive to set up a 28-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Nick Johansen and a 55-26 Carroll lead. The Redskins used a big play of their own on the next drive when McVey kept the ball on a quarterback draw and broke 46 yards fro a touchdown to narrow the score to 55-32. The offensive show continued with another Carroll touchdown, and on the last drive of the game the Redskin marched down to the Carroll 3 yard line before running out of downs. Bishop Carroll (8-1) received the No. 1 seed in the West bracket and will host Salina Central (5-4) Friday. The Redskins (5-4) will travel to Hutchinson to take on the defending Class 6A champion Hutchinson Salt Hawks who were moved down to Class 5A this season.