For nearly two quarters it looked like Friday's contest between Roger Bacon and Carroll would be a defensive stalemate as neither team could get a solid offensive drive going. But the Spartans utilized all facets of their game to put points on the board in a 23-8 victory over previously-unbeaten Carroll, improving to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in Greater Catholic League play.
With 1:36 remaining in the second quarter, a Carroll special teams' miscue opened the door for Roger Bacon and the Spartans took full advantage. After holding the Spartans to a three-and-out, Carroll fumbled at their own 44 on the punt return, and Roger Bacon recovered. Quarterback Tanner Sprong made it hurt when he immediately hooked up with wide receiver Mike Jackson for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
"I think it changed the momentum of the game," Coach Kevin Huxel said. "It was a tight game, it gave our team the spark we needed to keep going and have a great second half."
It definitely was the spark that ignited Roger Bacon.
--Postgame: Kevin Huxel
--Postgame: Tanner Sprong and Mike Jackson
The play was the first of two touchdown drives the Spartans would enjoy within the final two minutes of the second quarter. Sprong found Jackson in the end zone once more for a 17-yard touchdown to give Roger Bacon a two-score advantage at halftime. The quarterback finished 9-for-13 with 139 yards in the first half.
After Nick Lindner added a 42-yard field goal for Roger Bacon in the third quarter, the Spartan defense came up with another huge play. The Patriots had driven downfield to the Roger Bacon 21 where the Spartan defense tipped a Carroll pass. Defensive back Will Farrell caught the deflected pass and returned it to the Carroll 39. Jackson came up with a pivotal catch that kept the Spartan drive alive on a fourth and 8. That set up Sprong's 19-yard touchdown pass to Farrell to make it 23-0.
"Our kids executed what we ask them to do," Huxel said. "We knew Carroll was going to come out and run the ball and run the ball. Our kids stepped up with defense and shut them down. Offensively, we made the plays when we needed to."
The Patriots broke up the shutout with only 45 seconds remaining in regulation. Carroll quarterback Thomas Milord took the ball into the end zone from a yard out. Carroll would add a 2-point conversion to round out the scoring.
Next week, Roger Bacon welcomes Bishop Fenwick in what promises to be a good game. Carroll travels to Purcell-Marian.
Written by: Katie Budke, TriStateFootball.com