Jeff Becker’s first touchdown on Friday came barely 52 seconds into the game when he hit Jameson Coverstone across the middle of the field for a 28-yard score.
It was quick.
It was decisive.
It was only the beginning.
Becker’s stat line in Carroll’s 76-48 victory over North Side read like a video game – 460 passing yards and eight touchdowns on 21-of-31 passing. He added close to 100 yards rushing and another score.
The eight passing touchdowns fell one short of the Indiana high school football record of nine, achieved by Drew Schnitz of Huntington North in 2012.
Becker’s total passing yards and throwing touchdowns against the Legends broke Carroll school records.
“You get what you put in, and that’s what I really found out tonight,” said Becker following his record. “You don’t really expect to have a night like this, but our focus this week in practice was spot on. You couldn’t ask for a better week of practice.
“That’s really what this game came down to.”
While the Chargers and North Side traded blows on the scoreboard, Becker and Legends quarterback Duce Taylor went back and forth, matching each other touchdown for touchdown for more than three quarters.
Taylor showcased his elite skills throughout, throwing for 398 yards and six touchdowns of his own and leading a North Side comeback.
When Carroll’s Jorge Valdes picked up a Legends fumble on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter and returned it eight yards for a touchdown, it looked as if the Chargers were going to run away and hide from North, taking a 36-19 lead.
But Taylor and North Side (1-2) did not go away. Less than two minutes later, the senior quarterback hit Adrian Sewell for a 50-yard touchdown.
Carroll was able to answer every North score with one of its own, largely because of Becker. Time and again he took the top off the Legends defense, hitting wide receivers Mason Englert and Jameson Coverstone in stride time and again for big plays. Englert was the biggest beneficiary, hauling in 10 catches for 306 yards and 4 TDs.
“Jeff was making plays all night, he was getting everyone the ball,” Englert said. “We had a lot of guys step up this week, it was a great night.”
The game finished with 1,114 yards of total offense – absolute insanity. Despite the 32-point final margin, the game was within one score entering the fourth quarter.
When Carroll was called for holding in the end zone for a safety late in the third, North Side pulled to within 49-41. But the ensuing drive ended in a punt, and a Hunter Mertz three-yard TD run on Carroll’s next possession pushed the lead into double digits.
But the Legends came back with a Taylor to Ja’suan Lambert four-yard connection to bring the game close again at 55-48, but 63 seconds later Becker hit Coverstone for a 35-yard score.
The game was never in doubt again.
When the dust settled nearly three-and-a-half hours after the opening kickoff on Friday, Carroll had a resounding victory and made a statement that it is a threat to win the Victory Bell in the SAC. You will be hard-pressed to find a defense that can match up to the Chargers, although perhaps a team like Bishop Dwenger may have a say about that.
For now, the Chargers sit undefeated through three games for the first time since 2014, a year that the program did not lose until the postseason.
While it is tough to see a repeat of that in 2020, with what we saw out of Becker on Friday in Huntertown, anything is possible.