The high-octane affair between Carroll and New Haven on Friday came down to the final series before the Bulldogs pulled out a 41-35 win.
Here is how Coach Jim Rowland's team did it.
Won the battle in the trenches
New Haven rushed for 289 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry in the victory. While Jordan Hogue was targeted by Carroll's defense and was shut down in the passing game, his teammates stepped up in the offensive backfield, with the offensive line getting a consistent push to open up holes and drive piles ahead.
Won the battle in the trenches, part II
With the game on the line late and Carroll looking for a potential game-winning score, the defensive line of the Bulldogs are stout. Carroll quarterback Chandler Boggs moved the Chargers into New Haven territory with about a minute to go, but a sack followed by a short completion and then an incomplete pass on fourth down earned the Bulldogs the win. If Boggs is able to sit in the pocket and wait for receivers to get open, it could have been an entirely different outcome.
Those used to seeing Hogue's offensive numbers jump out of the box score will be surprised when they see how little the 5-foot-11 senior did in that respect, but his punt return for a touchdown proved to be the game-winning points and his two interceptions both came with Carroll inside the red zone. The Chargers had no choice but to go away from him late, effectively limiting Boggs' options.
Not letting the hype suck them in
It was a tremendous atmosphere at Carroll on Friday night, with some debating whether it was the biggest crowd in the program's history. Whatever the final attendance numbers, it was a highly-energetic largely pro-Carroll crowd, including of course the best student section in the area in the Neon Nation. They were quieted a bit when New Haven scored on its first possession of the game, giving the Carroll faithful some cause for concern. If the Chargers score the first one or two touchdowns of the game, it could have steamrolled with the help of the home crowd, but New Haven weathered the atmosphere well.
Lack of mistakes
New Haven only committed a handful of penalties and did not turn the ball over once, a huge key to knocking off a state-ranked team on the road. The Bulldogs played disciplined and smart football, and should be commended for it.