Before Tommy Evans kicked the game winning field goal on Friday against Sparks High, a 28-yarder with six seconds left in the game, he was almost wishing that he wouldn't have to.
"I was hoping they would score a touchdown because I was nervous," Evans said. "But when it came down to kick it, I was ready for it."
He admitted that the kick was the biggest of his football career. More importantly, it capped a 69-yard Senator drive that started on their own 20-yard line to give them their dramatic 27-26 win over the Railroaders.
"This is the most exciting game I've played in," said running back Josh Carter, who rushed for a game high 193 yards, including some key runs during Carson's final drive. "I would have liked to score the touchdown but a field goal works."
With the win, Carson improves to 2-1 on the season, already matching last seasons win total. Meanwhile, Sparks drops to 3-0 and with their 14-7 loss last week to Reno, they have now lost their last two games by a combined eight points.
"I think we going to be a fairly good team and we need games like this," coach Bob Bateman said.
Quarterback Marques Giron, who missed last week's 21-0 win over Galena with a sore elbow, looked impressive in his return by passing for 88 yards. And while his passing yards were modest, his two completions to Rob Handley on 3rd and 6 and 4th and 10, kept the final drive going.
"I thought with Marques coming in, you know, being cold and then throwing those two passes to keep the drive alive was nice," Bateman said.
In the first quarter, Carson went up 6-0 after Giron connected with Handley for a 44-yard touchdown pass that was nearly intercepted by the Sparks cornerback. But Handley ripped it back and then ran untouched into the end zone.
Then the Railroaders went ahead 7-6 with a second left in the first quarter after quarterback Adam Quick scored from one-yard out.
Then in the second half, running back Travis Longobardo rushed for three touchdowns as Sparks threatened to break open the game several times.
But Carson's game-breaker Doug Brooks came back with two touchdown run of his own. His 10-yard TD run at the beginning of the fourth quarter, gave the Senators a 24-20 lead, their first since the first quarter when they led 6-0.
On Sparks last drive, Carson committed several costly penalties that nearly cost them the game. On 2nd and 8, Quick flung an incomplete pass to wide receiver Sam Kimball but a Senator cornerback was called for pass interference. Then on 3rd and 4, Carson's defense were drawn off sides, which gave Sparks another first down off a penalty. On the same drive and with the game on the line, Sparks converted on two fourth down plays inside Carson's 20-yard-line. On their second fourth-down conversion, Longobardo gave the Railroaders a 26-24 lead.
Starting from their own 20-yard line, Carson marched 69 yards to the Sparks 11-yard line to set up the game winning field goal. There was enough time to take a shot to the end zone, which would've pleased Evans but Bateman didn't even think about it.
"No, Tommy has been doing a great job of kicking the ball and actually we wanted to wait until there was two seconds left so we wouldn't have to kick off," Bateman said. "But then they called a timeout."
And that timeout that Sparks coach Rob Kittrell called in hopes to put more pressure on Evans, ended up backfiring on him.
"Once we had the timeout, I calmed down and felt really good about it," Evans said.
As the sidelines poured onto the field after the game and the bleachers roared in exuberance, Bateman realized that games like this don't happen often.
"I would definitely have to put it in with the top 10 games that I've ever seen since I've been here," Bateman said.