All Sawyers, all the time
Dylan Sawyers was bent over at the waist, his face drenched in sweat. He was exhausted.
And he should have been.
Sawyers exploded for 248 of his 280 yards in the second half, and the defense pitched a shutout in the final two quarters in fifth-ranked Carson High’s 29-14 win over previously unbeaten Bishop Manogue Friday night.
Carson improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in Northern 4A play heading into next week’s showdown at Douglas. The Miners, who turned the ball over five times, dropped to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in league.
Sawyers, who was bothered by the flu when Carson lost 14-11 last season to the Miners, admitted that the loss was on his mind. He was on top of his game with three touchdowns, giving him 11 for the year.
“I was looking forward to this game since the last time we played them,” said Sawyers, who was brought down from behind twice in the second half after long gainers. “My hip has been bothering me, but that’s no excuse. I was just getting tired.
“The line blocked really well that second half. I was expecting Manogue to come hard. I wasn’t getting frustrated. That’s part of the game.”
The Miners did exactly that in the first 24 minutes. Sawyers had nowhere to run, piling up just 32 yards on nine carries. He did have a 5-yard scoring run in the first half after Chance Quilling recovered a muffed punt at the Manogue 14.
“Bishop Manogue played a great first half,” said Carson coach Blair Roman. “They handled us up front. They dominated the line. I challenged the kids at halftime. We had two back-to-back 10-play drives. They got tired. It started to show in the fourth quarter.
“The second half the defense stepped up. We moved the defensive Roman was referring to Manogue’s Gino Rossi, who had a big game himself. Rossi gained 187 yards on 17 carries, including a 70-yard TD run on the third Manogue series of the game which helped the Miners take a 7-0 lead. Rossi had just 19 yards in the final two quarters.
Manogue was held to less than 100 yards total offense in the second half, as Caleb Jeffers, Sawyers, Darian Goldman, Connor Beattie, Logan Peternell, Colby Blueberg, John Parker and Bryce Altus pressured the Miners constantly.
“The second half we made all the right adjustments,” said Jeffers, who had one of five Carson sacks. “We knew they were a good team.”
Trailing 14-6 at the half, the Senators took the second-half kickoff and drove from their own 30 down to the Manogue 4. Austin Pacheco came on to kick a 21-yard field goal to make it 14-9 with 5 minutes 56 seconds left.
The Senators converted two fourth-down plays on the drive. Facing a fourth-and-1 from their own 39, Logan Peternell, the up man in Carson’s punt formation took a direct snap and gained three yards up to the 42. The next three plays left Carson one yard short again, but Trey Jensen gained 18 yards on a keeper and Manogue was hit with a personal foul giving Carson a first-and-goal at the 10.
Manogue got one first down on its next possession before punting the ball away.
Two plays later, Sawyers appeared to break loose on a 63-yard scoring run, which was nullified because of a chop block. Sawyers was credited with a 28-yard run, but the penalty put the ball back at midfield.
After an incomplete pass and a short gain by Connor Beattie, Trey Jensen (5-for-9, 61 yards) kept the drive alive with a 12-yard pass to Gabe Pongasi down to the 35. Sawyers broke loose between tackles for his second score of the game to give Carson its first lead of the game, 15-14. Colby Blueberg was stopped inches short of the goal line on the two-point conversion attempt.
The momentum had shifted, and there were shouts of joy on the Carson sideline, which had been quiet most of the night.
The second lengthy drive that Roman alluded to came on Carson’s next possession. The Senators drove 70 yards in 11 plays with Sawyers capping the drive with a 17-yard run to make it 22-14 with 6:27 left in the game. Carson converted three third-down plays, the last one a 13-yard pass from Jensen to Pongasi.
“Trey got comfortable,” Roman said.
Manogue had the ball on its own 44 when disaster struck. On third and 3, McElroy was called for intentionally grounding. The ensuing 18-yard walkoff forced the Miners into an obvious passing situation on fourth-and-21. McElroy tried to go deep to the right hashmark. Blueberg had the receiver blanketed, and Sawyers came over and made the interception at the Carson 20.
Carson was in the end zone three plays later thanks to Sawyers, who ripped off a 63-yard run down to the Manogue 5. Connor Beattie scored on the next play. Pacheco’s PAT made it 29-14 with 3:46 left.
McElroy drove the Miners down to the Carson 21, but Beattie made a leaping interception at the 10 to kill the drive and end any threats of a miracle comeback by the Miners.
Two plays after the interception, Sawyers broke off an 81-yarder and he was pulled down at the 5. Carson elected to take two kneeldowns to end the game.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Paul Mills, Manogue head coach.
“They came in and did what they had to do to win,” Mills said. “They’re a good team. They do what they do.
“I thought we should have been up by more at halftime. In the first half we were able to run the ball and keep their offense off the field.”
In the second half, the Miners probably saw way too much of the Carson offense and Sawyers in particular.
Carson 29, Manogue 14
Manogue 7 7 0 0 – 14
Carson 6 0 9` 14 – 29
M – Rossi 70 run (Beauchamp kick)
C – Sawyers 5 run (kick blocked)
M – Pomi 7 pass from McElroy (Beauchamp kick)
C – Pacheco 21 FG
C -Sawyers 35 run (run failed)
C – Sawyers 17 run (Pacheco kick)
C – Beattie 5 run (Pacheco kick)
Carson: Sawyers 26-280-3; Beattie 11-44; Jensen 6-34; Peternell 1-3. Manogue:Rossi 17-187-1; McElroy 12-14; Teglia 4-15; Rogers 4-16.
Carson: Jensen 9-5-0 61 yards. Manogue: McElroy 20-10-3 122 yards.
Carson: Pongasi 3-32; Sawyers 2-29. Manogue: Hogan 5-51; Herzog 3-32; Rogers 1-34; Rossi 1-(2); Pomi 1-7.
JV: Carson 33, Manogue 26