Like a good closer in baseball, Bishop Carroll has turned to senior Zachery Roth when it faced crucial situations this season.
That was evident again Friday night, when Roth gained 79 yards in two carries, including a 41-yard touchdown that sealed Carroll’s 26-14 victory over visiting Maize in a Class 5A quarterfinal game.
Next Friday, Carroll (10-1) will look to return to a 5A title game when it plays at Goddard (11-0).
Maize (9-2) had just scored its second straight touchdown and cut the Carroll lead to three points, 17-14.
Roth gained 22 yards to the Maize 36. After a false-start penalty on Carroll moved the ball to the 41, Roth took off and went untouched to the end zone.
“I do what I’ve got to do,” he said. “That’s just how it has to be. You don’t have to step up when you’re called to step up; you step up when you’re needed to step up, and that’s what I try to do.”
In addition to his key carries and score against Maize, Roth has also been clutch for Carroll in other games:
In a 45-14 victory over West, he had a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown;
In Carroll’s 35-14 triumph over Heights, Roth carried only twice for 9 yards, scoring on 5- and 4-yard carries.
He even took part in one of Friday night’s craziest plays against Maize, hauling in a pass from Brady Bockover on a fake punt that kept a Carroll drive alive. Even though it didn’t result in a score, the play caught the crowd as well as Maize unaware.
Quarterback Braden Howell said putting Roth into the offense provides a jump start.
“We ran our ‘Diesel’ package and basically just ran the ball up the middle, and that worked,” Howell said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to our line on that. Riggs (Robben) and Isaiah (Carter) opened up big holes for him to run through.”
But there were plenty of heroes for Carroll. Senior quarterback Braden Howell passed for 228 first-half yards and finished with 315 and two touchdowns. He completed 28 of 41 attempts. His favorite target, especially in the second half, was fellow senior Joseph Holthusen, who finished with 15 receptions for 132 yards. Howell staked Carroll to an early lead on its first play from scrimmage, hooking up with 6-foot-3 senior Thomas Helten on a 62-yard scoring play.
“Braden’s a great quarterback,” Roth said. “I love that guy to death. He does everything. He keeps me up, and he keeps the team up.”
He said he knows his role is to come through at crucial times.
“It couldn’t (have come at a better time),” he said. “I just try to keep my feet and keep them running.”
Carroll coach Dusty Trail said Roth has a knack for coming through.
“He’s a playmaker, no doubt about it,” Trail said. “Really, we went to that package because they scored their second touchdown and got close to us.
“He’s an athletic guy, and he’s got a bright future.”
Trail said he put Roth in because he wanted to take some time off the game clock.
“I wanted to run some clock,” he said. “He had other ideas, obviously. He broke some tackles, and we scored.
“He broke a couple of tackles in less than 60 seconds, which is not grinding clock out, but we’ll take the touchdown, definitely.”
Trail said the quick score to Helten helped set the tone from the outset.
“That was a big play,” he said. “We wanted to go deep on them early, try to get them to play soft.”
After Roth’s touchdown, Carroll tacked on a safety with 50 seconds left when Maize quarterback Caleb Grill was chased out of the back of the end zone.
In addition to Roth, Carroll’s future remains bright, even with an undefeated Goddard team, which lost quarterback Blake Sullivan against Eisenhower.
“You get into November football, and everybody playing is going to be good,” Trail said.
Maize 0 7 0 7 – 14
Bishop Carroll 10 7 0 9 – 26
BC – T. Helten 62 pass from Howell (Steven kick)
BC – FG Steven 31
BC – Nichols 1 pass from Howell (Steven kick)
M – Jurgensen 43 pass from Grill (Kingrey kick)
M – Christon 6 pass from Grill (Kingrey kick)
BC – Roth 41 run (Lee kick)
BC – Safety, Grill chased out back of end zone
RUSHING – Maize: Johnson 14-39, Grill 3-10. Bishop Carroll: Roth 3-78, Howell 18-76, Nichols 17-68.
PASSING – Maize: Grill 18-42-0-260. Bishop Carroll: Howell 29-42-1-315; Bockover 1-1-0-22.
RECEIVING – Maize: Payne 5-106, Doty 4-22, Pieschl 3-52, Jurgensen 2-57, Johnson 1-11, Christon 1-6, Grimes 1-6, Neises 1-0. Bishop Carroll: Holthusen 15-132, T. Helten 6-128, Nichols 4-24, Lynch 2-30, Roth 1-22, Davis 1-1.