Carson High School football hosted North Valleys for the second time in 13 days Thursday night, with the second meeting opening up the Class 5A Div. III regional postseason.
It was the Panthers that were able to get revenge, putting together a 22-6 victory and limiting the Senator offense all night.
“They were hungry,” said Carson High head coach Ryan Boshard of North Valleys. “They were hungry and they came to play.”
The win for North Valleys is the first playoff win in program history.
North Valleys head coach Brad Rose said preparing for the Carson run game was one of the biggest changes from the first meeting between the two squads.
“We’ve just gotten better defensively,” said Rose. “Tonight it showed up in a big way. … They got into their Maryland I-formation on us at the end of the last game, so it was a big emphasis this week to make sure we were prepared for that.”
No. 5 North Valleys will travel to Minden next Friday to take on No. 1 Douglas in the Class 5A Div. III regional semifinals.
The NIAA lists the start time at 6 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Panther defense stands strong
The preparations for North Valleys worked as the Panthers held Carson without a first down until the 4:34 mark of the fourth quarter.
By that point, North Valleys had built a 22-0 lead and had firmly taken control of the game.
Carson didn’t roll over despite the deficit.
Junior Christian Rey earned the Senators’ first first down, breaking loose on a 39-yard down the North Valley’s 28.
Drake Hardcastle found Ethan Hendee for an 11-yard reception to move the ball to the Panthers 17.
After a four-yard loss, Hardcastle slung a touchdown pass to Isaiah Hurlbert, who caught the touchdown score through contact.
The Senators were able to get on top of the ensuing onside kick, but were stopped inside the Panther five-yard line in the final moments, sealing the contest.
“They were doing different stuff that we needed to adjust too and we didn’t adjust to it as quickly as we should have,” said Boshard.
North Valleys opened the game with a 15-play drive that spanned nearly the entire first quarter before the Panthers scored the opening touchdown.
With 10:29 left in the second quarter, North Valleys went 52 yards on five plays capped with a one-yard touchdown run from quarterback Mikole Almond.
The Panthers tacked on two more points with a safety in the third quarter when the Senators snapped a punt out of the back of the end zone.
After getting the safety punt, North Valleys went 53 yards for another touchdown to move in front 22-0 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
All-in-all, Carson wraps up the season with a 3-8 record.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these boys. They fought and showed resilience. I gave them one helluva a preseason, five-game stretch. That was the gauntlet,” said Boshard. “There are things we could’ve done better all the way around. Some learning curves we have to fight through.”
Staying within themselves
Penalties hurt Carson once again.
The Senators had a long kickoff return to open the second half from Hurlbert, but the play was brought back on a block in the back call.
After falling behind 14-0 early in the second quarter, lineman Darron Rey was ejected for a flagrant personal foul penalty.
Carson turned it over on a fumble two plays later.
After the game, Boshard said the discipline of his team did concern him at times this season.
“There was some points of it, yeah,” said Boshard. “You get into that spot where you either hold them back and don’t let them play free. Or, you let them play free and take some of the risks.”
Carson will graduate 14 players from this season’s roster, including Hurlbert, AJ Marhevka, Kincaid Gill, Malakye Brookes, Lucas Wold, Tallan Duran, Zack Lopez, Dawson Herbert, Odin Riley, Zach Nichols, Roman Gantt, Ryan Barbarigos and Justin Moore.