The silence in the Carson High locker room was deafening. You could have heard a pin drop. Some players had tears in their eyes, while others tried to hold them back.
The end of the season had come, and it was much sooner than anybody associated with the Carson High football program had expected.
Despite a furious fourth-quarter rally that erased a 15-point lead, the Senators dropped a 27-25 thriller on a 26-yard field goal by Conner Greth with 6 seconds left in the game.
It was Carson's fourth straight loss, and it cost the Senators a chance to reach the regional playoff for the fourth straight season. Carson went winless in league and finished 4-5 on the year, its first losing season since coach Blair Roman's first year back in 2008.
"I feel bad for the seniors," Roman said after a short talk with his team after the game. "They wanted this game so bad. They played their hearts out.
"Looking back, a couple of plays here and there made the difference in our season. We had trouble making plays (when we needed them). The second half we started to make some plays."
When Douglas went up 21-6 late in the third quarter, it appeared that the Tigers had driven the final nail in Carson's coffin. However, the Senators showed they still had a little fight left in them.
In a span of 47 seconds, Carson got back into the game with not one, but two scores.
The first came with 11:24 left in the game when Colby Brown, who rushed for 143 yards on 20 carries, scored on a 21-yard run to cap a six-play 80-yard drive. The key play was a 32-yard pass from Garrett Schafer to Luke Maher on a third-and-13 play.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Douglas quarterback Michael Nolting was scrambling, and he coughed up the ball. Dakota Baker picked it up and rambled in from 27 yards to make it 21-19. It was the second straight game that a Carson defensive lineman had scored a touchdown.
Carson had an opportunity to tie the game, but Stephan Sobkiewicz dropped the snap on what was going to be a 2-point conversion. It was the second missed PAT of the night, as Casey Wolfe missed a PAT after Carson's first score.
"It was open," Roman said. "He just bobbled it."
Carson went ahead for just the second time all night, 25-24, when Matt Nolan caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Schafer with 2:03 left. Nolan put a great move on Mason Rhoads to get wide open on the fourth-and-4 play.
Carson ended up taking two delay penalties, and then Douglas was called for a penalty before the Tigers stopped Nolan on the 2-point conversion.
The Tigers roared back and drove the length of the field, and Greth broke Carson's three-game winning streak in the series with his kick. It was the third straight Carson-Douglas game decided by a field goal.
"It was a heartwrenching defeat," senior Levi Carter said. "Penalties and bad plays have hurt our team all year. They made more plays than we did tonight."
The biggest mistakes were the missed conversions and a holding penalty which wiped out a 55-yard scoring run by Brown in the second quarter.