RENO - It's every kicker's dream to kick a game-winning field goal. Austin Pacheco did it last year when his overtime kick beat arch-rival Douglas 16-13.
Pacheco had his second game-winner of his Carson High career on Saturday, and he'll remember this one for many, many years.
With the help of a prevailing wind, Pacheco blasted a 64-yard field goal through the uprights with 27.4 seconds left to snap a 24-all tie and give the Senators a 27-24 win over Bishop Manogue.
The win was Carson's third straight heading into Friday's home showdown with rival Douglas. Carson is 3-0 in Northern 4A games and 3-1 overall.
Pacheco's kick was the second-longest in Nevada history. In 1985, Reno High's Dirk Borgognone kicked a 68-yarder against Sparks.
"I'm still in shock," said Pacheco, who did have a dazed look on his face for several minutes after the game ended. "I knew it was good as soon as I hit it. The snap was perfect and the hold was perfect . The wind was blowing to the right and I played it perfectly.
"I wasn't surprised that coach let me try. He told me before the game that anything 65 and under we had a chance. We did what we could do."
Carson coach Blair Roman had trouble finding words after the wild contest.
"I don't know what to say," he said, his voice hoarse from shouting during the game. "You might have to wait a minute.
"That (kick) broke the NFL record (of 63 yards). I know it was off a tee and I know it was wind-aided, but it was a great kick. It was fourth-and-13, and we're not a fourth-and-13 team. I knew he had the leg to make it."
Manogue coach Paul Mills was surprised that Carson attempted the game-winning kick instead of going for a first down.
"We knew it was going to come down to the wire," said Mills. "One of the kids on the sideline said the tee's out there and I was thinking the tee from the previous kick. Then I'm looking out there and they're lining up for a field goal.
"The kid nailed it. My hat's off to him. That's a great job in a very pressure-filled situation. Wind-aided or not, he got the job done and there's a lot of variables when you're kicking that far."
When the clock showed zeroes moments later with Manogue at Carson's 43-yard line, Carson players stormed the field and many Manogue players dropped to their knees in disbelief. No doubt the Miners thought they were headed to overtime.
The winning drive was set up when Cayze Velez stripped wide receiver Forrest Hansen of the ball after a 7-yard gain. Brock Pradere alertly fell on it at the Manogue 44 with 1:25 left . It was Carson's third takeaway of the contest.
After a 5-yard penalty, Chance Quilling gained six yards to the Manogue 43. Quarterback Matt Nolan was thrown for a 4-yard loss, putting Carson in a third-and-15 situation from the 47. Nolan tried to hit Quilling along the right sideline. Quilling made a sensational grab, but was out of bounds.
That set the stage for THE kick that will be talked about a lot in the future.
The interesting thing was that the Senators didn't use star running back Dylan Sawyers at all on the last drive despite the fact he'd gained 133 yards.
"We called one play for him, but Matt (Nolan) must have seen something so he kept the ball," Roman said.
The Senators didn't start well. Manogue's Brett Pilling, who was filling in for the injured Kenny Rogers and Tony Teglia (taking the SAT), dominated on the opening drive with 47 yards on six carries. His 13-yarder gave the Miners a first down at the 9, and two plays later, TJ Menning tossed the first of two TDs to Keegan Sullivan. The PAT gave Manogue a 7-0 lead with 7:17 left.
Manogue took a 10-0 lead on a 28-yard field goal attempt by Patrick Beauchamp. The score was set up when Pacheco shanked a punt that bounced off the back of one of his players 6 yards downfield at the Carson 30.
Carson, with the prevailing wind in the second quarter, finally got on the board early in the second quarter after Quilling's first interception of the day.
"I knew it was going to be a pass and I jumped up and batted it and then I was able to find the ball," Quilling said.
Carson took over at the Manogue 38 and drove inside the 5 before the drive stalled. Pacheco came on to kick a 22-yarder to make it 10-3 with 9:54 left.
Forced to drive into the wind, the Miners failed to get a first down and then managed just a 19-yard punt that rolled dead at their 39.
Carson, thanks to a 31-yard pass from Nolan to Pradere, was in the endzone four plays later on a 2-yard run by Sawyers, his first of three scores. Pacheco's PAT tied the game at 10 with 6:36 left in the half.
Carson, using the wind advantage, broke the tie right before the half when Quilling, who racked up his second interception on a tipped pass, took a pitch at the Manogue 22, started to turn the corner and when it looked like he might be forced out of bounds, completed a pass to Sawyers in the end zone. Another successful PAT made it 17-10 at the half.
"That's one of our special plays," Quilling said. "I saw Dylan in the endzone and he snagged it."
Manogue scored on its first two possessions of the second half to take a 24-17 lead. Menning found Sullivan for a 7-yard score in the corner of the endzone and Pilling scored on a 3-yard run. The Sullivan score made it 24-17 with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
Carson answered back on the next drive, going 80 yards in 12 plays with Sawyers scoring from the 1 on a fourth-and-goal call to tie the game at 24.