Around the Region

Maroons back has the ultimate in breakout games

Chandler Carroll averaged more than 10 yards per carry against a team that came into the game ranked No. 21 in Division III.
Photo by David Malamut,

Chandler Carroll had no idea he was closing in on school history Saturday afternoon. He was too focused on the task at hand -- helping Chicago make a statement in its first season in the Southern Athletic Association.

The Maroons were squaring off against No. 20 Centre, the reigning SAA champion and owners of a 14-game regular-season win streak.

A school record wasn’t on his mind.

“I had no idea. I was just trying to help our team win another game,” Carroll said. “But late in the game, coach told me he was going to get me a couple of more carries, so I knew something was up.”

Carroll ended up setting the single-game rushing record, bulldozing his way to 311 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. More importantly, Chicago, a new team on the block in the conference, took down the Colonels 49-30 to improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the SAA.

Carroll broke a record that has been in the record book for 30 years, beating it by 25 yards.

“It was awesome, but it’s even better getting the win. It puts us on the radar,” Carroll said. “I figured we would pass a lot more (Saturday), but once the game started, we ran the ball a lot. I knew I would have a chance to be a big threat.”

Until Saturday, Chicago used its air attack to get the job done, leaving Carroll with just 129 yards in the first two games.

But Carroll, a sophomore who was the rookie of the year in the University Athletic Association, never complained about his limited role within an offense designed to spread the ball around. 

“He’s very unselfish and his work ethic and passion are impressive,” Chicago head coach Chris Wilkerson said. “He’s one of the most talented players I have ever coached.”

Carroll came to Chicago destined for success.

In high school in Indiana, Carroll churned out more than 2,500 rushing yards and broke 14 school records. He was also a star on the wrestling mat, placing at state four times. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, he was the valedictorian of his class, cementing his status as a true student-athlete.

Perhaps the highlight of his career was being named a finalist for the high school Heisman. He was one of 100 athletes selected from a pool that was 49,000 applicants deep.

He spent a weekend in New York and met Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel. Being around two quarterbacks who are now in the NFL was a learning experience.

“I learned a lot from them, especially about what it takes to play at a high level. I made the most of that opportunity,”...

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Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Florida. He has 14 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending 10 at The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for and wrote Around the Great Lakes for from 2012-14. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois.

2014 columnist: Justin Goldberg
2013 columnist: Andee Djuric
2012 columnist: Kyle Robarts
2008-11 columnist: Jason Bowen


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