A return trip to the National Championships wasn't to be for the Carson Senator Pee Wee Pop Warner football team as it lost to Hollister, Calif., 23-0 on Saturday in the regional finals in Santa Clara, Calif.
Virtually all of the players for Carson advanced to last year's national championships, but it will be Hollister, who will make the trip to Orlando, Fla., in December.
It's still been an outstanding two-year run for Carson, which has gone 22-3 over the past two seasons, with the only three losses coming in last year's national championships and on Saturday. The Senators finished the year at 11-1 and had held their opponents to 20 points before Saturday.
"They were the better team," assistant coach Shane Quilling said. "The kids played hard, but they were a good team."
Hollister took an 8-0 lead on a long touchdown pass. Chance Quilling completed a 35-yard pass to Dylan Sawyers and Quilling also had an interception, but the Senators couldn't take advantage.
Hollister scored on a interception return near the end of the first half to take a 15-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Gabriel Pongasi caught two passes from Quilling for first downs and Sean Cutinilli also caught a pass from Quilling for a first down, but Carson couldn't sustain the drives.
Hollister score on its only sustained drive in the fourth quarter to take a 23-0 lead. Shea Bondi returned the ensuing kickoff to the Hollister 30-yard line, but Carson couldn't take advantage.
Defensive highlights for Carson included fumble recoveries by Logan Peternell and Patrick Craugh, Patrick Hesse, Austin Pacheco, Cutinilli, Austin Brown, Joe Zinda, Peternell, Pongasi, Zach White, Craugh, Jacob Myers, Quinton Page and Bondi all played well defensively.
Adam Guzman's 19-yard field goal in overtime proved to be the difference, sending Hug to the NIAA 4A State Championship game in a 17-14 win at Cimarron-Memorial on Saturday in the 4A semifinals.
Hug will play for the state title against Las Vegas, a 6-0 winner over Palo Verde, at 12:30 p.m. this Saturday at Mackay Stadium.
After Guzman's field goal in the first overtime, Hug's defense stiffened and Ryan Saludares missed a 42-yard field goal, securing the win for the Hawks.
Gabe Dobbins finished with 109 yards on 14 carries, including a 53-yard run that set up Darryl Feemster's 1-yard scoring run for Hug.
Cimarron led 14-7 in the fourth quarter when Feemster had two key completions of 26 yards to Avarien Hunter. That set up Feemster's 12-yard scoring run with less than two minutes left to set up overtime.
(Editor's Note: NevadaPrep.Com contributed to this report).