Carthage Receivers Dominate in 41-13 Tuesday Afternoon 7-on-7 Football Victory vs. Shreveport Evangel
CARTHAGE — Having 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-6 receivers at the high school level can make you feel pretty good as a quarterback.
“It builds confidence, definitely,” said Carthage 2014 quarterback Blake Bogenschutz with a laugh.
Carthage’s size at receiver and Bogenschutz’ two years as a varsity starter were on full display Tuesday afternoon. The Bulldogs thumped perennial Louisiana power Shreveport Evangel in a 41-13 victory in 7-on-7 football action at Bulldog Stadium.
Carthage 2014 receiver O’keeron Rutherford, who stands 6-foot-6, caught eight passes for 89 yards and four touchdowns. He was unstoppable the entire afternoon, adding two PAT catches to account for 26 of the Bulldogs’ points.
Rutherford’s dominance was especially apparent in red-zone situations, where his large frame made for mismatches against smaller defensive backs. Rutherford, who already has a ULM offer and has heard from several schools including North Texas and ULL, caught 43 passes for 599 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012, but expects a much bigger year as a senior.
“I’m playing way more confident. I just know I can do it now. I just know what I’ve got. I know my skills now,” said Rutherford, who credited receivers coach Dennis MacLaughlin for helping him be more physical. “(The coaches) put in my ear every day, ‘You can’t be that big for nothing.’
“I feel like I should be unstoppable on the goal line. I just feel like nobody should be able to stop me from catching the ball on the goal line. When the ball is in the air, I feel like it’s mine.”
Classmate Terian “Tee” Goree, who had one of the top seasons for a receiver in program history in 2012, caught four passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 45-yard (length of the field) score on a slant route that saw him outrun Evangel’s entire secondary down the middle of the field after catching the pass. Goree already holds offers from Louisiana Tech, Memphis, ULL, ULM, and Northwestern State.
Bogenschutz, who has a Division II offer from Arkansas Tech, completed 19 of 24 passes for 270 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. Three of his incompletions were drops.
Bogenschutz, who enters 2013 needing 1,458 passing yards to tie Carthage’s career record, said Rutherford has vastly improved from last season and will once again make a tough duo with Goree.
“Big O’s been lifting weights and (head coach Scott) Surratt’s got him working on the goal line and that’s where we’re really gonna use him,” Bogenschutz said. “We think we can probably get 10 more touchdowns out of him on the goal line.”
Carthage’s defense also performed well.
After surrendering a touchdown on each of the Eagles’ half-opening drives, the Bulldogs stiffened the remainder of the halves. Goree, playing safety, had an interception off a deflection, while 6-foot-2, 205-pound 2014 outside linebacker D’Vodney Brooks picked off a pass at the goal line.
But the offense’s fireworks stole the show.
In addition to Goree and Rutherford, 2014 athlete Keldrean “Poodie” Strong had three catches for 60 yards, while 2015 athlete Bryian Bolton snagged two passes for 30 yards.
Bogenschutz believes the performance was a product of experience. A Carthage offense that averaged 42.8 points per game during last season’s 3A Division I state semifinal run will return 10 starters for the 2013 season.
“I think we’re a lot more polished this year,” Bogenschutz said. “We can communicate just by eye movement. I can tell O to run a route just by the way I move my hands. We just know what we’re talking about. We have good chemistry now.”