RENO — What started out as a horrible night ended in a lopsided Carson High victory.
The Senators gave up a 87-yard 16-play scoring drive to start the game, and then blanked Manogue for the final 43-plus minutes to grab a 33-6 win Friday night at DJ Benardis Field.
Carson improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Sierra League, and more importantly clinched a playoff berth.
The win was bittersweet, however, as starting quarterback Jace Keema injured his ankle in the third period. His status for next week’s showdown against Damonte Ranch is up in the air pending x-rays.
“Yeah I thought we dominated the game,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “It’s like I told you earlier this week they’ve got some nice sophomores who are solid and are going to be good. They showed what kind of players they are going to be.
“I’m just proud of our guys coming on the road beating a pretty talented team. I’m pretty happy with that.”
After yielding the game-opening 87-yard scoring drive, Carson allowed just 140 yards the rest of the way.
“They run that triple-option offense, and it’s hard to simulate that in practice,” Roman said. “It takes a series or two (sometimes) to get used to it.”
Spencer Rogers admitted it was an ugly start.
“That was probably our worst series,” he said. “We came out ready in the second half and shut them out. We showed them the heart of our team.”
After Manogue’s opening drive, Carson came out in a three-receiver set and drove down to the Miners’ 14 before the drive stalled, and Johnny Barahona kicked the first of two field goals to make it 6-3.
The key play was a 38-yard completion to Brandon Gagnon down to the Manogue 20.
“We had a real nice post route and Jace threw a beautiful ball,” Roman said. “It was a great way to start the drive, but unfortunately we didn’t finish it.”
Manogue had just one first down the rest of the first half.
Carson took the lead for good on its final drive of the opening half.
Manogue’s Lincoln Hauck was stopped short of a first down at the Carson 24.
The Senators drove 76 yards in five plays, and Abel Carter was the key. Carter, who started with seven carries for 36 yards, ripped off gains of 12, 6, 27 and 17, the latter was good for a TD. Barahona’s PAT made it 10-6.
Carson started the second half with a bang, and Carter’s 87-yard TD run on the first snap was the kill shot. The run gave Carson a 16-6 lead.
“Coach (Vic) Castro made some blocking adjustments at halftime,” Carter said. “Dallin (Shaffer) did a great job blocking it, and Spencer also made a big block.”
“I pancaked him,” said Rogers, who was standing a few feet away.
After another fourth-down stop, this time at the Carson 39, the Senators drove down to the Manogue 13, and settled for a 31-yard field goal by Barahona. Keema suffered his ankle injury two plays before the field goal. After another defensive stop, Carson put together a 56-yard scoring drive culminated by Carter’s 3-yard scoring run to make it 26-6. Rogers keyed the drive with three carries for 44 yards.
Rogers capped the scoring on the next drive when he stepped in front of a Hauck pass and returned it 68 yards for a score. Rogers, with the injury to Truesdale, had shifted over and played some cornerback.
“I knew they weren’t going to throw deep,” Rogers said. “When I saw the quarterback drop back one step, I knew he was throwing an out and I just jumped the route.”
Manogue turned the ball over on its next drive, but Carson was unable to convert.
Carter finished with 18 carries for 190 yards and three touchdowns. He now has 19 rushing touchdowns on the year.
Carson hits the road against Damonte Ranch at 7 p.m. Friday. The game between the two undefeated teams in the Sierra League will decided the league championship.