For the Carson High football team, it was definitely a nightmare on Saliman Street.
Trevor Kruger rushed for 261 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns and finished with 354 total yards to lead the Douglas High football team to a 24-14 win over Carson at CHS on Thursday night.
Douglas (5-4, 3-2 in the Sierra League) moves on to play in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs at McQueen at 7 p.m. on Friday. Carson’s season is over as it finished at 2-8 and 1-4.
And it was sweet redemption for the Tigers who officially wiped away the sting of last year’s 59-28 loss to the Senators when they were able to run over and claim the trophy shaped like the state of Nevada.
“We had to live with this for 371 days,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. “It’s great to have the monkey off of our backs. The kids deserved it.”
Monfiletto was a man of few words after the game, but his team’s actions spoke for themselves. “He just kept running, huh,” said Monfiletto about Kruger.
Carson coach Blair Roman predicted the game would be won in the trenches and he was right as he gave credit to the Douglas offensive line for Kruger’s monster game.
“He had a great game,” Roman said. “I thought their offensive line had their way with us and kind of wore us down in the fourth quarter.”
The game was even in the first half as each team finished with 153 yards of total offense. Douglas had just a 3-0 lead late in the first half despite 183 total yards from Kruger.
Carson put together a drive at the end of the half on the strength of Chance Smith’s 30-yard run and a 19-yard pass from Johnny LaPlante to Bradley Maffei.
Smith was stopped 1 yard shy of the goal line forcing fourth down. Roman let the clock run down to three seconds left in the half before using his final timeout and sent the field goal team on to the field.
But then Roman sent his offense back on to the field. Maffei, though, was stopped about six inches shy of the goal line as the Tigers came through with a goal line stand on the last play of the half to maintain their 3-0 lead at halftime.
“Huge, a huge play,” Monfiletto said.
Carson, though, seemed unfazed as it scored on the opening drive of the second half with Smith scoring on a 13-yard run. Jackson Kalicki added the extra point to give the Senators a 7-3 lead.
“I liked how we responded,” Roman said.
But then Kruger and the Douglas offensive line took control of the game. On the Tigers’ first two scoring drives of the second half, Kruger gained every yard with the exception of a 13-yard pass from Colton Weidner to Race Coman.
Kruger gained all 60 yards on the Tigers’ first drive of the second half. On fourth and 2 he scored on a 10-yard run and Chris Flores added the extra point to give Douglas a 10-7 lead. Kruger scored on a 1-yard run on the Tigers’ next drive to give Douglas a 17-7 lead.
“They were able to control the game up front,” said Roman about the last quarter and a half of the contest. “It was an equal game up to that point for sure.
“We had our moments. I was real proud of our effort tonight. They left everything out there, played their hearts out.”
“Give credit to Blair,” Monfiletto said. “Their kids stepped up and played hard.”
After Douglas took a 17-7 lead, it caught a break on the kickoff when Flores attempted a squib kick that bounced off of a Carson player. The Tigers’ Josh Shaw recovered the ball at the CHS 49-yard line. Kruger went on to score on a 6-yard run to give Douglas a 24-7 lead.
Carson responded on the strength of a 17-yard pass from LaPlante to Brayden Marler. That set up a 12-yard scoring pass from LaPlante to Maffei to finish the scoring.
After the Tigers’ opening drive of the game stalled at the CHS 40, Weidner’s 39-yard punt pinned CHS at the 1 and the Tigers forced a three and out.
Carson’s JoJo Garcia boomed a 54-yard punt, forcing Kruger all the way back to the Douglas 40. Kruger went on to return the punt all the way back to the CHS 19. But the Carson defense stiffened and the game remained scoreless.
The Senators then mounted a drive behind the running of Smith, who had 96 yards on 14 carries, and Maffei and Christian Davila also had a 9-yard run on the drive.
But after CHS reached the Douglas 14, a motion penalty and a bad snap took Carson all the way back to the Douglas 31.
LaPlante then masterfully placed a pooch punt with a bounce that would make any golfer proud, pinning Douglas at the 2.
Kruger, though, broke free for a 37-yard run and Isaiah Geilenfeldt also had a 20-yard run. Monfiletto also pointed out the unselfish play of his team, giving Geilenfeldt as an example. While Geilenfeldt didn’t have a pass thrown to him all night, his blocking downfield was key in springing Kruger on his long runs.
Kruger broke free again on a run inside the CHS 20, but fumbled and Davila recovered at the 17. Smith went on to score on a 71-yard run but the play was called back because of a holding penalty.
Douglas forced Carson to punt and put together another drive. But the CHS defense stiffened again at the Senator 11, forcing the Tigers to settle for Flores’ 28-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.