The Carson Senators Pee Wee football team is one game away from returning to the Pop Warner National Championships.
In a defensive battle in which a bad snap on a punt was the difference, Carson defeated the Douglas Tigers 8-0 on Saturday in the Northern Nevada Snow Bowl championship game at Sparks' Don Mello Sports Complex.
Carson advanced to the regional championship where it will play against the Northern California champion in Santa Clara on Thanksgiving weekend. With a win, Carson would advance to the national championships to be held in December in Orlando, Fla.
The Senators are looking for a return trip to Orlando as virtually the same group of players went to the national championships last year. Over the last two years, the team has a 21-2 record, improving to 10-0 this year.
Its only two losses last year in Orlando. Carson posted its eighth shutout of the year on Saturday and has 16 shutouts over the last two years. Carson has outscored its opponents 247-12 this year.
"I'm extremely proud of this team," Carson coach Ron Pacheco said. "They did a great job."
Carson beat Douglas 23-0 earlier in the year, but Pacheco knew his team would be in a tough battle the second time around. "It was a defensive battle on both sides of the ball," Pacheco said.
The only score of the game came in the second quarter after a bad snap over the punter's head gave Carson the ball at the Douglas 20-yard line. That set up Austin Pacheco's 10-yard scoring run. Pacheco kicked the two-pointer to make it 8-0.
Other key plays in the game were Chance Quilling's 22-yard pass to Dylan Sawyers late in the third quarter and Gabriel Pongasi's fourth quarter interception. Among others who played well defensively were Shea Bondi and Cole Dufresne.
Defensive linemen Austin Brown, Logan Peternell, Joe Zinda and Patrick Hessey also played well. "They did a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback," coach Pacheco said.