Carroll has ‘confidence’ following three-game win streak

As the calendar turned from August to September, you could not have blamed Carroll High School football coach Doug Dinan if he was as down as any coach in the entire state.

His Chargers had opened the season with consecutive losses for the first time in his eight seasons leading the program and quite frankly, having just endured the worst beating (a 69-7 loss to Snider) in school history, there was little reason for optimism.

“First of all,” Dinan told The News-Sentinel when that rout was brought up, “Snider is a very, very good football team. But our kids have great character. There was never a time when I felt that our heads were down, figuratively, and we were going to quit or give up or we would tank the season.”

What the Chargers did was simply keep working to improve and that led to a belief that better things were coming

Which they eventually did.

After being outscored 103-26 in the first couple of weeks, Carroll bounced back with a 42-3 victory at North Side, a 49-14 win against Northrop, followed by a thrilling last-second win over Bishop Dwenger Friday, which lifted Dinan’s team to a 3-2 record with a very winnable game against South Side Friday at 7 p.m.

“We had two weeks where we weren’t that good,” Dinan said. “We responded. We came back against a decent North Side team and put some points on the board. We got some confidence.”

That “confidence” proved crucial in the win over the Saints, because early in the third quarter, things didn’t look favorable for the “Neon Nation.”

With just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Carroll senior quarterback Jack Miguel threw a pass that was picked off by Bishop Dwenger defender Isaac Blume. A mere four seconds later, Saints quarterback Patrick O’Keefe hit receiver Will Nelson for a 31-yard score that put Dwenger ahead 24-14.

The Saints wouldn’t score again, however, as the Chargers put up 14 straight points and got a phenomenal defensive stop by junior linebacker Jack Tranquill on the one-yard line as the clock expired to preserve the victory.

“This is a great opportunity,” Dinan said of the win over the Saints, “to know that we battled and competed right down to the last second and you get the victory.

“That is a great morale booster, as well.”

After averaging 13 points per game in the opening two weeks, the Charger offense has been explosive.

Miguel enjoyed a record setting night against Northrop in which he threw for 386 yards and seven touchdowns (both school records), while completing 22 of 27 passes. He deservedly received his share of the praise, but Dinan said somebody had to catch all of those passes.

“The receiving corps that we have is a good group of kids,” Dinan said. “They play hard and Jack is a great leader.”

Carroll has put up 119 points in the three consecutive wins, while its defense wasn’t just strong against Dwenger late in that win; it has been solid for several weeks.

The Chargers have allowed just 41 points since the Snider game on Aug. 25.

Following the South Side game, Carroll has very difficult tests against Homestead (Sept. 29), at Concordia Lutheran (Oct. 6) and against Wayne (Oct. 13).