The first two plays from scrimmage of Carroll's matchup against Bishop Dwenger on Friday in front of a hostile crowd at Shields Field did not go well: The Chargers were stuffed for minimal gain on a pair of run plays and committed a false start.
So Carroll did what it does best – it went to the air. On a third-and-13 play, quarterback Jeff Becker looked deep over the middle and found Jameson Coverstone behind the defense for an 82-yard touchdown.
“When you get the ball first you want to start with a touchdown,” Becker said. “A touchdown starts something and gets people going, so nothing better to start with than that.”
Becker's strike quieted the raucous Saints crowd, sent the packed Carroll stands into a frenzy and set the tone for a Chargers romp as the visitors went on to win 42-23 to remain alive in the SAC race.
Becker and Coverstone connected on the first three Carroll (4-1) touchdowns, but then the South Dakota State-bound quarterback began to spread the wealth. He threw three more touchdowns to three different receivers – AJ Lazoff, Cooper Rudolph and Gabriel Starks – to finish with six scoring tosses in all to go along with 327 passing yards.
“(Becker and Coverstone) have a connection,” Carroll coach Doug Dinan said. “But that's the great thing about that (receivers) group, ... every one of those guys are going to play hard and consequently Jeff has trust and faith in each one of those guys that they're gonna run the route and he's gonna read the defense.”
Down 21-0 in the second quarter after Becker hit Coverstone – who had seven catches for 173 yards – for a 49-yard touchdown, Dwenger (3-2) put together its best drive against the first-string Carroll defense.
The Saints converted two third downs and then ran four times to KJ Tippmann for 42 yards, including an 18-yard burst that featured a hurdle of a would-be tackler at the end. That set up a four-yard touchdown run up the middle for Aziz Dixon to make it 21-7.
With Dwenger getting the ball back to start the second half, the Saints could have made it a game if they had gotten a stop late in the half, but Becker hit Lazoff for 39 yards and a touchdown up the seam on a busted coverage before the break and the Chargers cruised after halftime.
“We wanted it more than them and it showed on the scoreboard,” said Becker, who had lost to Dwenger three straight years. “It's just a great feeling because you go in expecting such a great team, but everyone in the locker room, with this atmosphere, we wanted to play and it showed.”
With the victory, his 84th at Carroll, Dinan became the all-time Chargers wins leader, passing Ed Fox, who led the team from 1979 to 1995.