Aggressive Carroll runs all over Penn Wood

RADNOR >> Three games into the season without a win and 368 days without one will make a coach change up a thing or two. This week in practice, that’s exactly what Joe Powel decided to do.

The Archbishop Carroll coach organized more aggressive, more physical, more intense practices. Thursday night, his Patriots responded. They dominated Penn Wood, 30-8, in nonleague play to earn their first victory in more than a year.

Carroll (1-3) ran for 278 yards and scored on three of its first four possessions of the game. It held Penn Wood (1-3) to 151 yards of total offense, including a staggering negative-13 rushing yards. The whole thing made for a happy home team, and a very happy coach.

“I’ve always believed, you listen to your players,” Powel said. “We sat down for film down on Monday and they gave me their thoughts. They said ‘Let’s start hitting, let’s start getting after it in practice and do more hitting.’”

The result was evident in the offensive line, which paved the way for Carroll’s three-headed monster at running back all night. Richard Melito, the leader of that pack, had 123 yards and scored the game’s first touchdown.

He noticed the difference in the boys up front right away.

“Offensive line, hell of a job,” he said. “Haven’t seen them block like that since scrimmages. … They gave us holes. We got some good backs, they killed it out there tonight.”

Christian Smith added 90 yards, while Rahsul Faison had 62 and the second of Carroll’s four touchdowns (it went three-of-four on two-point conversations to get to 30). Jay Smiley added a score on a six-yard reverse in the fourth quarter, in addition to catching an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Honick just before halftime.

As a ground-and-pound team, Carroll is going to win games up front. But with the reverse and with Honick leading an effective two minute drill to get those points late in the first half, the Patriots showed they aren’t about one thing.  

“We gotta pick our spots, we have to be smart with our passing game,” Powel sad. “I think Honick did a good job of managing the football game tonight. Again, we took our shots when we thought we could take our shots, and the kids executed.”

Ultimately, it could’ve been a 2-0 victory or a 55-54 victory and it would feel just as good for Carroll. Yeah, it’s been a while since it was on the right side of the scoreboard.

The kids knew it. The relief was there.

“It means a lot,” Smiley said. “Gives us more excitement that we can beat any team we face.”

Powel couldn’t take the smile off his face.

“We didn’t want to go into our league 0-4,” he explained. “It’s a good situation for us to win a football game. Again, I’m going to talk them about not resting on their laurels.”

Penn Wood made it 24-8 late in the third quarter when Javon Lindsey-Terrell hit Tyquon Brodie from nine yards out, but that was all it got. The night, surely, belonged to Carroll.

The hosts now head into Catholic League play next week and will face Bonner-Prendergast. That game will be a tad different than what Carroll experienced Thursday. There, it did something it hasn’t done in quite a while.

The feeling will have to eventually wear off — Powel will see to it. But until then ….

“It means so much,” Melito sad.

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