A full decade fell away, as Drue Tranquill headed for the promised land again. A decade of the letter L. A decade of visits to the woodshed. A decade of, well, straight-up stone butt kickings.
Friday night, at last, the boot was on the other foot.
Tranquill ran over, around and through the Homestead Spartans for 228 yards and five touchdowns, brother Justin tore through them for 143 and two more scores, and the Carroll Chargers finally put their demons in blue-and-gold to rest Friday night, 51-34, in a game that took you all the way back to 2003.
That was the last time the Chargers (5-2, 3-2 NHC) beat their cross-county rivals, and it hadnt been pretty since. In nine straight victories, Homestead (5-2, 3-2) had outscored Carroll by an average margin of 23.2 points.
Not this time.
Feels great, Tranquill said. We havent beaten them in 10 years, and once in 15 years. So its great for our team, great for our Carroll community. It was a great overall win.
And one with a multitude of both heroes and mood swings. The Chargers scored the games first 17 points, as Tranquill scored the first three times he touched the football, although one got called back on a penalty. Then Logan Ormsby, who threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns, led Homestead to 19 straight points to send the Spartans to halftime with a 19-17 lead.
Tranquill got the lead back for Carroll with an 18-yard run with 5:33 to play in the third quarter, setting off a dizzying sequence of one-upsmanship: Five times in the next six minutes, the lead changed hands, with Justin Tranquill finally giving Carroll the edge for good on a 22-yard run 14 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Ormsby immediately chucked a 36-yard pass to Tristan Phillips to give Homestead a first down at the Carroll 24. But Carroll stuffed the Spartans on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 at the 15 – and eight grinding ground plays later, Drue Tranquill fled 42 yards down his own sideline for the dagger touchdown.
Across the last 8:45, the Chargers had the football for 7:09.
Ultimately we had to find it within us, Drue Tranquill said. We were struggling offensively, we were struggling defensively, so at halftime we had to come together and make some adjustments, and we were able to do so.
Carroll coach Doug Dinan agreed.
They showed a lot of character, he said. Lot of character, a lot of tenacity. And thats what has to happen. In order to be successful, youve got to step up, youve got to make plays, youve got to make stops.
(Homestead) is a great football team. That was a good high school football game – back and forth, physical, big plays, players steppin up and makin plays. It was exciting. This time we happened to be on the right side of it.
At long last.
Note: Homestead safety Gunnar Goebel was transported to Lutheran Hospital on a backboard after a violent collision at the 7:12 mark of the third quarter. The game was stopped for 15 minutes while Goebel was taken off the field. Homestead coach Chad Zolman said Goebel was experiencing some pain in his neck and thats why he was taken to the hospital.