Carroll High School junior quarterback Trent Fox credits a team trip to Ohio Northern University as a major reason for the Patriots resurgence this year.
Carroll, just 1-9 last season, entered its Friday game against rival Alter with a 4-2 record.
“The experience brought us closer as a team and made us more of a family,” Fox said. “I met people I never knew and found out things about people I never knew.”
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Against the Knights, Carroll players and faithful experienced an all too familiar feeling.
Alter ran its win streak against the host Patriots to 13 with a 54-7 win in a Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division contest.
The Knights, who have won six straight after a season-opening loss to Fairmont, improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the GCLC. It was Alter’s 24th straight conference win.
Carroll falls to 4-3 (1-3).
Since the series renewal in 2006 with the formation of the GCL-Coed, Alter has handled its East Dayton rival decisively. The Knights have outscored the Patriots 573-89, including a 365-26 run the last eight years.
Carroll came out swinging Friday.
Gutting out a 67-yard drive on the game’s opening possession, the Patriots, who converted a fourth-and-1 on the Alter 3-yard ine, took a 7-0 lead on senior running back Fred Butts’ 1-yard run. It was the Patriots first lead in the series since 2002, which was also Carroll’s last win (21-0). The drive lasted 5 minutes, 40 seconds.
“Carroll has a nice scheme,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “They were able to take the ball down the field on us at the start and eat most of the time off the clock in the first quarter. I thought I was playing Fairmont again.”
Said Fox: “That’s the first time I can remember us being up on Alter. We needed to keep that mentality the whole game. We didn’t.”
Alter’s Malik Allen returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Carroll 15 and the Knights tied the game 60 seconds later on the first of three Branden McDonald touchdown runs.
Tied 7-7 after the first quarter, Alter added four second-quarter touchdowns. The backbreaker was a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Alter’s John Erbaugh with 2.6 seconds left before half. Carroll also had a 47-yard second quarter field goal attempt come up just short.
Offensively Alter scored on seven of its eight possessions, including the last six.
“We are where we need to be at this point,” Domsitz said. “But we need to keep winning.”
Carroll will try to stop a three-game skid next week against Roger Bacon.
The Patriots are searching for the program’s first winning season since the 2010 squad finished 7-4 and advanced to the Division II playoffs.
“These boys are growing every week and getting better,” Carroll head coach Ben Rulli said. “They’re working their tails off and that’s all you can ask of them.”
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