Atwell-Carrico duo could make history, but players focused on winning title for Aces

November 30, 2023 | 12:05 am

Updated November 30, 2023 | 12:50 am

Brady Atwell (left) and Tutt Carrico (right) | Photos by Ryan Richardson

You could argue that Owensboro Catholic’s Brady Atwell and Tutt Carrico are one of the best quarterback-receiver duos in Kentucky history. Atwell’s 27 touchdown passes to Carrico ranks 2nd all time and is 1 off the record, meaning they could set a new benchmark this Friday in the 2A state championship. They won’t deny their special connection, but they give credit to the playmakers around them — and they’re strictly focused on bringing home the Aces’ first-ever title.

“We’ve spent so much time together,” Atwell said. “The amount of work Tutt has put in and the amount of work I’ve put in, it’s been like so much dedication that I really expected this kind of connection this season. As a team and as a whole, we really expected to have this much success, for sure.”

Carrico was quick to give credit to the whole team.

“Because our other receivers are so good and our O-line is really good, teams can’t double me,” he said. “If they do, someone else will score a touchdown.”

There have certainly been other contributors to the high-octane offense Catholic has put on display week in and week out, but nothing compares to the Atwell-to-Carrico play call. Head Coach Jason Morris echoed what his star players had to say, but said they were undoubtedly the leaders of the team.

“Brady has come a long way as a quarterback, and a lot of that development has come through the correlation of the hard work that Tutt puts in. They just put so much work in over the last two years together, that I think is correlated to the field,” Morris said. “If Tutt’s ever bracketed or double-covered, the other receivers have all made plays for us all year long. And then our offensive line has given Brady enough time to be able to go through those progressions. But the connection between Brady and Tutt is what makes the offense go.”

Atwell, a junior, has completed 277 of 386 passes for 4,227 yards and 65 touchdowns this season. He leads the state across all classes this season in yards and touchdown passes and is 4th in completion percentage. It also puts him 9th all-time for yards in a season (top 5 is within reach if he has a big game Friday) and 2nd all-time for touchdowns in a season (1st is well out of reach).

Atwell is also a threat when he leaves the pocket, leading the team with 58 carries for 657 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. No one else for Catholic has more than 200 yards or 3 touchdowns on the ground.

Carrico, a senior, has caught 84 passes for 1,587 yards and 27 scores. He’s first in the state in yards and receiving touchdowns, and tied for 4th in receptions. The 27 receiving touchdowns is 2nd-all time, behind the record of 28 shared by Jamarielle Brown (Lone Oak, 2007) and John Cole (Somerset, 2006). A big game could also get him inside the top 10 for single-season receiving yards.

Carrico’s presence extends well beyond the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, he’s forced 4 fumbles and recovered 2 to go along with 6 interceptions, 1 of which was returned for a touchdown. He’s also a major threat on punt return, often picking up big yards after making the catch.

The Brady-Carrico show really ramped up in the postseason, as the Aces continued to roll over every opponent. They’ve connected for 10 touchdowns in the last 4 games, including 3 against Green County and 4 against Somerset. 

Making it perhaps even more impressive is most, if not all, of those 27 touchdowns have come in the first half. Catholic has outscored their opponents 673-179 (an average of 36 points per game), with most games hitting the running clock threshold of a 36-point lead before halftime.

While their stat lines are impressive, both players only have one goal in mind: bringing home Owensboro Catholic’s first football state championship. 

The Aces take on Mayfield at 3 p.m. CST Friday, and both guys are ready for the challenge.

“They’re gonna make good plays,” Carrico said. “They’re a good team. I think they’re gonna take us for granted a little bit, but we’ll be ready.”

Atwell added, “Our team, we’re all together. We’re brothers. It’s really a special group. We put in a lot of work and I really feel like it showed on the field. Mayfield is a really good team, but I feel like we have the best shot we can ask for. I’m really excited to see what happens.”

November 30, 2023 | 12:05 am

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