POCATELLO, Idaho — Carson High’s recipe for a season-opening win was easy.
Two long touchdown runs and 256 yards by Abel Carter, mix in solid special teams play and throw in a gritty defense effort, and you have a thrilling 14-13 win over Lewiston at the annual Rocky Mountain Rumble at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena.
The news wasn’t all good, as starting quarterback Daniel Morrison injured his right knee, and he could be out for the season.
The difference in the game came down to a missed extra point on the last play of the third quarter after Lewiston had cut the lead to 14-13.
“It was a great win for us,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “All the work we put in during the off-season. For them to get out of it with a win was big. We had a couple of big fourth-down stops.
“It was a tough game,” Carter said. “They are a good team.”
After Lewiston had trimmed Carson’s lead to one, the Bengals took over with 9 minutes, 41 seconds left in the game.
Lewiston QB Tyson Wallace completed passes of 12 and 29 yards to Josh Wilson and Connor Spencer for a first down at the Carson 27.
The Senators dug in, taking the ball over on downs. Tanner Kalicki had a big play on second down, stopping Troy Hanes for a 2-yard loss. Wallace completed a 5-yard pass on third down, but threw incomplete on fourth down.
The Senators did the next best thing without scoring. They took valuable time off the clock, running off nearly four minutes before kicking it away.
The biggest play was Carter’s 11-yard run on a fourth-and-1 from the Carson 29. A couple of illegal procedure penalties and a broken play eventually forced Jon Acosta to kick it away.
“The fourth-and-1 was for the ball game, basically,” Roman said. “They get the ball with 3 1/2 minutes left and three timeouts left if we punted there. I took the gamble and it paid off.
“Had we not shot ourselves in the foot the next set of downs they never would have gotten the ball back, but we made them expend their timeouts which helped the defense. It had to do with time management.”
Acosta drilled a 39-yarder with no return, forcing Lewiston to start from its own 20.
The Bengals’ Wallace threw two incomplete passes, completed one for 5 yards to Kyle Alford, but misfired on fourth down.
Ball game, Carson.
“I think the defense proved ourselves today,” linebacker Dawson Lamb said. “With Daniel (Morrison) gone, we knew we had to step up and back up the offense.”
In the first quarter, Carson, thanks to runs of 15 and 22 yards by Carter, moved from its own 17 to the Lewiston 20 when the drive bogged down. Tanner Kalicki missed wide left from 36 yards.
After Lewiston went three and out, Carson took over on the Lewiston 49, and didn’t waste the opportunity.
Carter was stopped for just a yard on first down, and Blake Menzel threw an incomplete pass that probably should have been intercepted. Carter broke off a 48-yard scoring play on the next snap. Kalicki’s PAT made it 7-0 with 8:47 left in the half.
“It was a counter,” Carter said. “The line gave me a big hole and I had just one guy to beat.”
Neither team scored on their next possessions, and then the Bengals got a big break.
On second-and-19 from his own 11, Wallace lofted a pass on the left seam to Treyce Bradley. Kyle Rudy appeared to have good coverage on the play, but the ball went off his fingertips and was pulled in by Bradley, who took it the rest of the way. The PAT tied the game at 7 with 4:31 left in the half.
Neither team threatened the rest of the half, but Carson went ahead to stay on the first snap of the second half.
Lewiston kicked short and Vinny Hershman returned the kick to the Carson 41, and Carter bolted 59 yards on the ensuing snap.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder was hit once at the line, spun and outraced the Bengals’ defense to the end zone. The PAT made it 14-13 with 11:44 left in the third.
“The backside defensive end came, and I was able to keep my balance (after the hit) and get outside.”
“He had the two long touchdown runs and he made the play on a fourth-down pass,” Roman said. “He had a great day.”
The defenses took over for the next several possessions.
Lewiston scored on the final play of the quarter when Wallace found Tanner Hutchens for a 49-yard TD. Carson blew a coverage on the play.
Carson’s offense only got one first down the rest of the way, but the defense stepped up and took the roar out of the Bengals.