Football Preview 2016: Experienced Carroll ready to lead James Wood

James Wood's Dade Carroll will be playing quarterback and defensive back for the Colonels. Rich Cooley//Daily

WINCHESTER – Last year James Wood quarterback Dade Carroll had a strong running game to help ease him into his role on the team. This season with James Wood 2016 graduate Tyler Bishop gone, Carroll will have a little more on his shoulders and he’s OK with that.

Carroll feels confident about his ability to lead the Colonels this season.

“I feel like (Bishop) was a really good leader and everything,” Carroll said. “I’m going to take over, fill his shoes as a leader on offense and then try to do everything we need to do to win.”

The senior was on James Wood’s varsity squad as a sophomore and was the back-up quarterback to 2015 graduate Brady Hepner

He said he learned a lot from that season and did a lot to try to help the team.

James Wood's Dade Carroll will lead the Colonels at quarterback. Rich Cooley//Daily

“I knew I wasn’t starting so I knew what I had to do in practice,” Carroll said. “So, I always ran hard in practice and everything trying to make everyone else better on the team.”

Last year Carroll threw for 1,052 yards, on 72 for 113 passing and 10 touchdowns. He led the Northwestern District in completion percentage.

Bishop ran for 1,549 yards, which helped Carroll in the passing game. Carroll still made plenty of big plays through the air.

One of the biggest was against Sherando. Carroll completed back-to-back 20-yard passes in the final minutes in a 14-10 loss to the Warriors. Sherando stopped James Wood on downs in the final minute to seal the win.

Carroll also had a big game against Handley in the final game of the season. Even though the Colonels lost top receiver Dillon Manuel to graduation, Carroll will still have plenty of players to throw the ball to this season.

“We have (tight end) Noah Sullivan back and I think he’s going to play a big part,” Carroll said. “He’s going to step up now that Dillon’s gone, but I’m going to distribute the ball more to everyone instead of just having Dillon.”

James Wood coach Mark McHale said that he has a lot of faith in Carroll and is looking forward to seeing how he does this season.

“He just got faster in our speed program and he got stronger in our weight program,” McHale said. “His arm’s stronger and he’s worked all year round. …He’s a quiet leader. He leads by example. In the locker room he’s a leader.”

Carroll said he’s worked hard on getting faster, and feels like he can be more of a threat to run with the ball this year.

“I really feel confident in my running ability,” Carroll said. “I think it’s really fun running, like when you see open field you get really excited.”

Carroll said that he’s always enjoyed playing quarterback because he enjoys the pressure and being in control out on the field.

Carroll will also play cornerback this season, and he said it will be the first time he’s played on defense at varsity level.

He said football is the only sport he plays, and he mostly loves the team aspect of it.

“Really it’s not who has the best players, it’s who has the strongest team working together,” Carroll said. “That’s what I like best about it.”

Last year the Colonels finished 4-6, and lost several close games.

Carroll said he feels good about the team this season and what they can accomplish.

“I feel like were really bonded together and everyone’s on the same page,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to be the biggest, fastest or strongest team, but I feel like working together as a team we’ll get there.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com