Whatever suspense was left in the game — after the Golden Eagles had scored the first 27 points — evaporated when Bishop Carroll scored two touchdowns at the end of the first half to lead 40-7 at the break.
It was the second state title for the 13-0 Eagles and their first since 1978. Miege ended the season with a record of 7-6.
After letting Bishop Carroll run off to that big, first-half lead, the Stags cut the margin to 20 when senior Yale VanDyne caught a pass from senior Montell Cozart. But even that play was emblematic of how Miege’s day was going. VanDyne hauled in the 20-yard pass at the 1-yard-line and fumbled into the end zone, where senior Blake Schneiders recovered the ball for a Stags touchdown with 1:43 left in the half.
Hoping to build on that momentum, Miege tried an onside kick, but Carroll recovered at its own 46.
The floodgates then opened.
On third and five from the Stags’ 38, Eagles quarterback Zeke Palmer completed a short pass to junior Bryce Harvey, who raced into the end zone with 1:12 left before intermission.
On the ensuing kickoff, Miege senior John Fisher gathered in a short boot but fumbled. Eagles sophomore Blake Newell recovered at the Miege 40.
From there, lt took Carroll four plays to score, with Palmer finding junior Tory Smith all alone on a throw-back pass for 24-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the half.
“We knew we couldn’t turn the ball over against a good football team,” first-year Miege coach Jon Holmes said. “They capitalized on our turnovers.”
To start the second half, Bishop Carroll took the opening kickoff at their own 20 and methodically drove down the field, using 17 plays and 7 minutes, 9 seconds before sophomore Denzel Goolsby scored on a one-yard run.
The Eagles then got a gift when the Stags failed to cover the ensuing kickoff, and Bishop Carroll senior Anthony Troilo recovered at the Stags’ 37.
It took the Eagles just six plays to score with Goolsby running it in from the 6 with 1:20 left in the quarter.
Bishop Carroll made it 60-7 on the last play of the third quarter when senior Michael Leonard scooped up a Cozart fumble and returned it 41 yards for the last touchdown.
“I was proud of our seniors,” Holmes said. “They played hard in the second half.”
For the game, Bishop Carroll’s Palmer rushed 21 times for 145 yards and completed 11 of 19 passes for 206 yards. He had two touchdown passes and didn’t have an interception. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
The Stags lost three fumbles, had two passes intercepted and had nine penalties for 85 yards.
Miege’s Cozart completed 13 of 28 passes for 97 yards, but he had two passes intercepted. He rushed 15 times for 67 yards.
It was the last game for 23 Miege seniors. The Stags ended their regular season with a record of 4-5, but beat Mill Valley, Blue Valley West and St. Thomas Aquinas in the playoffs to earn the school’s first trip to the Class 5A state championship game.