Manogue defense stops Carson 14-11

RENO - One moment Carson High was trying to get its field goal unit on the field for a game-tying, 42-yard attempt, and the next moment the Senators were angrily walking off the field.

The referee apparently stopped the clock momentarily with approximately three seconds left for an injury timeout, and then re-started the clock after the injured player was replaced. The buzzer sounded before Carson, which was out of timeouts, could snap the ball.

A bizarre ending to a physical, hard-fought football game, as Manogue used two fourth-quarter field goals by Dominic Gonzales to stun No. 1 Carson 14-11 Saturday afternoon at D.J. Benardis Field.

The loss dropped Carson to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Sierra League, while Manogue improved to 2-0 in the Sierra and 3-1 overall.

"It was an injury timeout," Carson coach Blair Roman said. "The refs made the right call. We should have spiked the ball and then tried the field goal. Live and learn."

"I'm really proud of the kids. They battled and battled against a good offense and only gave up 14 points."

Gonzales' second field goal, a career-long 46-yarder, gave Manogue a 14-11 lead with 4 minutes 30 seconds left in regulation.

The Senators, who struggled offensively the entire game (220 yards total offense) against a physical Miners defense led by Gary Albright and Ricky McDonald, started their last drive at their own 17.

Thanks to two fourth-down conversions, Carson moved the ball out to its own 41-yard line. Plattsmier got the first on a 2-yard quarterback sneak to the 28. The second fourth-down conversion came on a 6-yard pass to Ean Witter. The ball was deflected at the line, and Witter was able to get his hands under the ball before going to the turf.

On second-and-1 from midfield, Plattsmier was sacked by Brian PIerce before he could get rid of the ball. Plattsmier completed a 21-yarder to Josh Peacock for a first down at the Miners' 43. Plattsmier spiked the next snap to kill the clock and then completed a 9-yard pass to Levi Bloxton, setting up the bizarre and controversial finish.

Carson scored all of its points - a 1-yard run by Blake Plattsmier and a 24-yard field goal by Ean Witter - in the first 17:30 of the game, and then was held scoreless the rest of the way.

"Our offense couldn't get untracked," Roman said. "We didn't throw the ball effectively. Manogue had a good game plan. They ran a defense that they hadn't been running and we had to make adjustments (at the half). We didn't have very good field position in the third quarter except after the kickoff return."

Carson had just one running play over 10 yards - Luke Carter's 45-yard run in the first half. In its four previous games, Carson had managed 25 runs of 10 or more yards.

"We didn't get to the backside linebackers," Carson center Danny Gall said. "We didn't get to the second level (of their defense). They were crashing both of their ends, and we didn't hit the holes fast enough."

Manogue quarterback Zach McElroy, who gave Carson problems all day, started the Miners' first scoring drive with an 11-yard run and then threw an 8-yard pass to Austin Petersen for a first down at the Miners' 35. McElroy kept the ball on the next two plays and gained 17 yards to the Carson 42. On the next snap, he rolled out and found Blake Bishop behind Peacock for the touchdown. McElroy ran in for the two-point conversion to make it 11-8 with 1:38 left in the half.

The Miners drove all the way to the Carson 1 on their first drive of the second half, but Gino Rossi coughed up the ball and Carson safety Dylan Sawyers recovered.

Carson eventually punted the ball away, and Manogue started the next drive at the Senators' 45 with 3:31 left in the third period.

The Senators' inability to get off the field on key third-down plays came back to haunt them. The Miners converted two third downs, the second one an 18-yard run by Bobby Hunter down to the Carson 11.

Carson held on the next three plays, and Gonzales tied the game with a 26-yard field goal. After Carson went three and out, the Miners drove down to Carson's 29 before the drive bogged down, and Gonzales provided the game-winner.

"Yeah, I was a little nervous (on the second one)," Gonzales said.

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