The goal was to stay atop the conference, but the ultimate reward was six new entries in the history books.
No. 11-ranked Homestead’s offense broke a slew of school records Friday — and tied another — en route to a 70-41 victory over No. 9 Carroll, dropping the Chargers to 5-2 on the season for a share of the top spot in the Summit Athletic Conference thus far, alongside Bishop Dwenger.
“We’ve been improving throughout the season on that side of the ball,” Homestead Head Coach Chad Zolman said. “There were some things that were available — and even when things are available, you have to execute, so our kids really executed well tonight. They got into a rhythm and they were running the ball well. When we do that, I think we can be pretty effective.”
Both teams took their lumps early, as both Carroll’s Jeff Becker and Homestead’s Evan Ormsby were picked off on their first offensive possessions of the game. After that, it was a back-and-forth shootout.
Becker was the first to reach the end zone, capitalizing on an interception by freshman Braden Steely at the Spartans’ 40-yard line for a quick rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Ormsby answered with the first of many deep touchdown passes on the night, finding Nate Anderson for a 29-yard score.
Becker did the same on Carroll’s next drive, connecting with Jameson Coverstone for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Ormsby closed out first-quarter scoring with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jared Kistler to even the score 14-14.
The Chargers’ first possession of the second quarter ended in another interception in the end zone, after Becker managed a successful fourth-down conversion in an attempt to take the lead. Homestead capitalized on the resulting touchback with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Ormsby to Anderson for the Spartans’ first lead of the night.
The Chargers moved the chains on their next possession, converting on another fourth-and-1 situation and scoring on a 13-yard pass by Becker to Coverstone to tie it up 21-21.
The Spartans answered with back-to-back touchdowns, including a 17-yard run by Ormsby and a 71-yard run by senior back Braeden Hardwick, while the defense managed to sack Becker for a loss of 12 to force a Carroll punt in between. Down by 14, Becker found running back Aiden Lazoff on a short pass to set the Carroll junior up for a 15-yard touchdown sprint, making it a one possession game with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. Homestead led 35-28 after missing a 47-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half.
It was more back-and-forth in the third quarter, starting with a 45-yard rushing touchdown by Hardwick, followed by another touchdown pass by Becker to Coverstone and a 46-yard touchdown catch by Kistler to give Homestead another 14-point lead. Once again, Carroll responded, marching the ball down the field to set up senior Hunter Mertz for a rushing touchdown on the goal line. However, the Chargers failed to convert on a 2-point attempt, and never saw the end zone again through the remainder of the game.
The Chargers’ final three possessions resulted in a third interception and a pair of punts, while Ormsby went on one final scoring spree with a pair of touchdown passes to Anderson and a goal line carry for the final nail in the coffin.
The Spartans have won their last six matchups with the Chargers. The last time Carroll defeated Homestead was during the 2015 regular season.
“Before I was coaching here, (Carroll and Homestead) were playing each other every year, so it goes back a very long way,” Zolman said. “These kids know each other off the field — they’re friends, they’ve got a lot of buddies, they work out together at certain places and all those things, and they’re similar schools. This one was significant because we both have the same record at this point. That adds a little emotion to it too.”
When the smoke cleared, the Spartans came away with five new school records — total team offensive yardage (765), single-game passing yards for Ormsby (436), most touchdowns in a game for Ormsby (eight), single-game receiving yards for Anderson (230) and single-game rushing yards for Hardwick (287). Ormsby also tied his brother, Logan, and Mike Rhinehart for most passing touchdowns in a game (six). His passing yards record broke his previous record, which was also previously held by his brother.
Hardwick’s rushing yards record was especially notable, as the senior returned this year after suffering a torn ACL during last season’s Week 7 matchup with the Chargers.
“That injury is a significant one, and to see him play at that level, it’s good to see,” Zolman said. “This is the hardest he’s run yet this year. It looked like he felt comfortable, and he was really explosive tonight, so that’s a good sign. When he’s playing well, it really helps.”
“Carroll is one of the best teams we’ll see in the conference, so coming out and beating them was definitely very important,” Hardwick added.
Becker finished the night with 376 offensive yards for Carroll, passing for 242 and rushing for 134. He threw four touchdown passes and three interceptions, while adding one rushing touchdown. Coverstone caught seven of 12 targets for 101 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the night.
Homestead’s defense recorded four sacks and seven tackles for a loss of yards. Ryan Burton grabbed two interceptions, and Isaac Barkes added one.
“This game doesn’t win the SAC, and I just told our kids that too,” Zolman said. “We’re one step closer, but that means next week’s just bigger. Next week’s the biggest game of the year, and if we win that one, the following week will be the biggest game of the year to get us to the point where we want to be.”
Homestead (6-1) travels to Wayne (1-6) on Friday. Carroll (5-2) will host Concordia (4-3).