The year is 1988. The United States performs nuclear tests at Nevada test site, Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest serving prime minister in the century and Miami beats Oklahoma to win the national title in college football.
And oh yeah, Carson High beat McQueen in football. Little did anybody know that the Lancers would go on to dominate the Senators on the gridiron well into the new millennium.
The host Senators put together their best defensive performance of the young season and wiped out 24 years of frustration in knocking off previously unbeaten McQueen, 19-6, Friday night in a non-league football game.
“That’s pretty much what we were preaching all week,” said running back Joey Thurman, who rushed for 112 yards and a first-half score that turned out to be the game-winner. “Let’s make history, and we just did.”
And the Senators did it with tremendous defense, something that was lacking the first two weeks of the season.
“One of the things I told the kids that if they didn’t come out and play physical, McQueen would run all over them,” said CHS coach Blair Roman. “McQueen started well, but we were able to find another gear. McQueen isn’t a throwing team. They want to pound the ball, and they are going to do it over and over again. Our guys stepped up.”
In a big way.
Carson made four stops in the red zone, including one in the final 90 seconds to salt away one of the best wins in recent Carson history. Three times McQueen quarterback John Weethee threw incomplete passes, and Andrew Gutierrez ended a drive with an interception in the endzone.
“We started off slow, but we made some adjustments,” said linebacker Stefan Sobkiewicz. “We pinched our defensive ends to keep them from going up the middle.”
McQueen’s Lucas Weber ran for 156 yards, but it took him 34 carries to get there. He was a human battering ram to be sure, but his longest gain was just 17 yards, and that came late in the game. Mostly it was three yards here and four yards there. Carson made him earn everything.
“He’s a good back,” Roman said. “I think lack of field position hurt them. Stefan did a good job pinning them back a couple of times with punts.”
Sobkiewicz pinned McQueen twice, once at the 4 and once at the 8. He also had his first two touchbacks of the season. When you are as one-dimensional as McQueen is, it’s tough to drive the length of the field.
McQueen took the opening kick-off and drove 80 yards for a score, as Weber ran it in from the 2. The PAT failed.
The Lancers, following an interception had a chance to pad their lead, but that’s when Gutierrez stepped in front of a Weethee pass in the endzone.
“I saw the quarterback roll out and I just read his eyes,” Gutierrez said. “When he threw it, it was right in my hands.”
Carson went ahead midway through the second quarter when Thurman busted loose for a 64-yard scoring run. The Sobkiewicz PAT gave the Senators a 7-6 lead with 5:33 left in the half.
“It’s supposed to get three or four yards,” Thurman said. “Based on earlier calls, I thought we’d be able to bounce one out sooner or later.”
Carson’s defense came up big on the next possession, as Nolan Shine sacked Weethee for a 14-yard loss. Weethee ended up intentionally grounding the ball, forcing the Lancers to punt from their own 14. A 33-yard punt gave the Senators the ball at the McQueen 47.
Carson didn’t waste the prime field position, scoring six plays later on a quarterback sneak by Schafer. The key play in the drive was a 32-yard pass from Schafer to Alan Cohen for a first down at the Lancers’ 11. Three straight runs by Nevin Elliott moved the ball to the 1, and then Schafer bulled his way into the endzone on the next play to make it 13-6. Sobkiewicz added the extra point.
Late in the third quarter, Carson extended its lead to 16-6 when the McQueen center made a poor snap, and the ball ended up going out of the endzone for a safety.
Carson, however, give the ball right back to the Lancers when Gutierrez fumbled the free kick at the Carson 37. The gaffe didn’t cost Carson anything, as McQueen got the ball a far as Carson’s 16 where Weethee overthrew Patrick DeLeon in the endzone.
Carson drove from its own 20, and ripped off three straight double-digit yardage plays. Schafer kept the ball for 13 yards to the 33, and then completed two straight passes for 26 yards to Gutierrez. The latter gave Carson a first down at the McQueen 41. A pass interference gave CHS a first down at the 26. Three running plays left the Senators short of a first down, and Sobkiewicz came on to kick a 35-yard field goal for a 19-6 lead with 8:24 to go.
“They had a heck of a game plan and executed it,” McQueen coach Jim Snelling said. “They made the plays when they needed to.”
And, Carson can’t get a big head about a big win like it did after beating Reed last season, 32-30. Carson, now 2-1 on the season, didn’t win another game the rest of the 2012 season.