FORT WAYNE – At the end of the first half of the New Haven-Carroll game, there was a flurry of points – four touchdowns in 2 1/2 minutes to be exact – with the Bulldogs finishing on the short end of it and trailing by a touchdown.
But New Haven quickly regrouped and rallied for a thrilling 41-35 win at Carroll on Friday.
The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 NHC) outscored the Chargers (3-1, 1-1) 20-7 in the third and fourth quarters.
“It was a great ending to the first half, even though it didn’t end in our favor. But as a football fan, you enjoy it,” New Haven coach Jim Rowland said. “We refocused at halftime. We said obviously we can score quickly and anything can happen, so let’s see what we can do in the second half.
“Things fell into place for us tonight, our kids played hard, and they believed in themselves. It was a great win for us, but we still have a long way to go.”
There were four scores in the final 2:36 of the first half. New Haven’s Ariest Vasquez tied the score at 14 on a 6-yard run with 2:36 left. Carroll’s Drue Tranquill made it 21-14 with a 38-yard run at the 1:40 mark, and the Bulldogs’ Travis Crowe caught a 63-yard scoring pass with 25.4 seconds remaining to tie the score at 21.
Tyler Winklejohn then capped the first half with a 65-yard touchdown reception as time expired to give the Chargers a 28-21 halftime lead.
Carroll came into the game averaging 55 points, while New Haven averages 54.
New Haven senior Jordan Hogue had two interceptions and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 9:59 left. He also got a late pick and got a first down on a fake punt late in the game to help preserve the win.
“When they call my number, I try to make big plays when I can. I just try to stay within myself and came up big,” said Hogue, who had a 75-yard punt return that put the Bulldogs up 41-35. “Everybody expected a high-scoring game, but I didn’t expect that high scoring. But it was close and our defense was the big factor.”
Hogue had his second straight big game against the Chargers after providing an interception and fumble recovery in last year’s 33-14 New Haven win.
“Everybody was doubting us,” Hogue said. “We fought hard and came out here and got the ‘W.’ In the second half, we made adjustments.”
Vasquez rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Justin Tranquill got his second touchdown to give Carroll a 35-28 lead late in the third. Hayden Graham’s 1-yard touchdown plunge for the Bulldogs early in the fourth tied the score at 35.
Drue Tranquill had two touchdowns for the Chargers to match brother Justin’s total.
“You can’t be in shootout mode with that kind of team that can score in a heartbeat,” Carroll coach Doug Dinan said. “They were in that shootout mode, and they were victorious, and they didn’t turn it over.”