Liberal will travel to Wichita Friday to face the Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles in what has been one of the best known high school rivalries in Kansas.
By EARL WATT • Daily Leader
For most Liberal Redskin followers, it comes as no surprise that the Redskins are the underdogs in the epic battle. Very few times in the history of the rivalry, which leans heavily in the win column to the Redskins, has Liberal been the favorite.
Carroll and Liberal had a shootout a year ago at Redskin Field. The heavily favored Golden Eagles came to the Burial Grounds and fell behind 15-0 early in the first quarter before rallying to a 44-37 win. Carroll went on to play in the Class 5A championship, and lost to Blue Valley West, a team that defeated Liberal 21-19 earlier that same season. According to prepzone.com. Carroll is favored by 24 points in the power rankings. That was about the same point spread last year, and the Redskins gave the Golden Eagles all they could handle. But this is a new year, and Bishop Carroll will clearly be the toughest team the Redskins will face so far this season. “They have no weakness,” Liberal coach Tom Schroeder said. “They have a very good quarterback. They have athletes at every position. They pass the ball very very well.” Bishop Carroll has put the ball in the air about 75 percent of the time this season, an area the Redskin defense has struggled. “We’re going to have to try to get them out of their game,” Schroeder said. “If we can get them to run the ball, we can get them out of their comfort level, but they can run the ball, too.”
The only team to knock off the Eagles this season was Wichita Heights in the opening week. After that, Carroll mowed down the City League, one of the weaker conferences in Kansas. While Carroll was knocking off the Wichita schools, Liberal was facing programs like Newton, Dodge City, Garden City and Hays, Great Bend in the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC has been known as one of the toughest conferences. Liberal has a mix of young and old. The veteran senior class has led Liberal to a 5-3 record, the best in three years under Schroeder, and the younger players are now playing with a season’s worth of varsity experience. “It would be different if we were going in to the first game of the year against Carroll,” Schroeder said. “We took Carroll to the limit last year. They are excited about that.”
The Redskins will add a wrinkle to the defense Friday against Carroll in an effort to slow the passing attack and force the Eagles to a ground game. Although the Eagles have had success on the ground as well, a fight in the trenches could favor the Redskins. Only Garden City’s CJ Covington was able to rush for more than 100 yards against the Angry Red blackshirts. Both Liberal and Bishop Carroll have already qualified for post-season play, but a win could shake up the bracket for the West which will include Hutchinson a Salina school and other quality opponents.. “If you’re going to go very far you have to play those teams eventually,” Schroeder said. “We have a good one in our district.” Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Carroll.