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Bishop Carroll football counting on growth with tough schedule

By Joanna Chadwick

The opening of the football season is always thrilling, but it’s even more so when it includes a matchup like Bishop Carroll vs. Northwest.

This rivalry is one of the best, especially over the past decade. They’ve played 12 times with Northwest winning seven, including twice in the Class 5A playoffs.

“Every year, the first 2 1/2 weeks feel like 2 1/2 months,” Carroll coach Dusty Trail said. “We’re excited that things are kicking off, and this game is always a good opportunity to see where we’re at…. Playing this game Game 1, it’s great for both of our programs because it’s great competition and a great rivalry.

“You know it’s going to get the best effort from the kids. This will give us the best indication of where your weaknesses are and where you need to work on and what you do well.”

But Friday’s game is just one example of Carroll’s tough schedule, which includes Derby on Sept. 16, Junction City on Sept. 23, Kapaun Mount Carmel Oct. 7, Heights Oct. 14 and East Oct. 21.

“We have tough games throughout the year,” Trail said. “It’s a good barometer for us. The negative to that is maybe your record is not quite as good because you’re playing good competition. It affects your seeding come playoff time, so it can be seen as a negative. But it’s important to see that level of competition. The more experience our kids have with that, the better it is for you.”

Opponents should be keying in on wide receiver Tate Blasi.

“Tate Blasi is probably our biggest weapon,” Trail said. “He’ll be a three-year starter for us … he’s got some explosiveness, got good hands and he’s a competitor who competes for the ball.

“The key is how to get the ball to him.”

Trail said Wednesday that both Zach Steven and Jackson King will get time at quarterback against Northwest.

“They haven’t really separated themselves. We are comfortable with their capabilities and their decision-making,” Trail said. “Both have different talents, and we’ll try to take advantage of those talents and see where it takes us.

“We hope to get Tate enough touches offensively so he can make a difference for us.”

If teams key in on Blasi, then that opens up the game for running backs Luke Holthusen and Derek Breese behind the offensive line that includes Cam Hudspeth, Matthew Robben, Jacob Racine and Hank Purvis.

Defensively, Carroll has plenty of experience on the line in Walt Gray and Broc Eastman and at linebacker with Sam Duling, Carter Morris and Ray Brogan.

“We feel pretty good about our front seven,” Trail said.

In the secondary, Cooper Buessing and Michael Nance will play big roles.

“Cooper’s our field general,” Trail said. “He tore his ACL at the beginning of last year, and he was out for the season and his rehab went well.

“His mind, his brain, his leadership provide the biggest help for us. He’s a coach on the field. He takes charge of situations. He needs to have a big year at safety. He can make plays, he’s an athletic kid.”

A look at the past 10 seasons

2021: Carroll won 37-27

2020: Northwest won 41-21

2019: Northwest won 21-17

2019 (playoffs): Northwest won 35-18

2018: Northwest won 23-22

2018 (playoffs): Northwest won 84-67

2017: Carroll won 40-35

2016: Northwest won 61-49

2015: Northwest won 31-24

2014: Carroll won 43-14

2013: Carroll won 12-7

2012: Carroll won 61-14


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