Breaking down Douglas at Carson
OFFENSE: Carson’s Dylan Sawyers has been on an absolute tear in the last three games, chalking up 206, 171 and 132 yards, respectively, and 11 rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns in that span.
He has had help from QB Matt Nolan, who has proven to be elusive as a runner, and Joey Thurman who has shown flashes of brilliance in his sophomore season.
Nolan hasn’t had to throw a great deal yet, but he’s been efficient when he does throw.
After Sawyers’ nine catches, Brock Pradere is next with six grabs for 97 yards.
Douglas’ Conner Peterson (105-539) is big and strong, and he’ll be the focal point for Carson’s defense.
QB Michael Nolting has shown the ability to run and pass, but hit TD-INT ratio (8-8) is high. Carson needs to be disciplined in its pass rush and keep Nolting contained. Douglas has some nice receivers in Connor Hughes (11-93), Nate Vonahsen (11-156) and Nick Maestretti (18-156).
Carson won’t completely stop Peterson, but if th Senators can contain him, then it could be enough to win the game.
DEFENSE: The Senators are coming off a so-so effort against Manogue. At times, the Miners absolutely dominated Carson up front, and that needs to stop. Patrick Hesse, Chance Quilling, Sawyers, Austin Pacheco and Patrick Cooke need to step up and have huge games. The Tigers have struggled at times on the defensive side of the ball, allowing 35 points a game, but they will be hungrier than normal tonight. Their focus will be on Sawyers, who broke off a couple of long gainers in last year’s 16-13 overtime game won by Carson.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Austin Pacheco’s game-winning 64-yard field goal against Manogue has brought him and the school some national attention. Hopefully Pacheco and Nate Vonhasen won’t have to deal with crappy weather. Both kickers have strong, accurate legs. A year ago, Pacheco had three field goals in the Senators’ 16-13 overtime victory.
PREDICTION: While I believe Carson has the edge in all three categories, remember this is a rivalry game and that makes a huge difference. Carson has won the las two battles and is looking for a three-peat. Douglas can ill afford to lose more than two games the rest of the season or the playoffs could just be memory.
CARSON 20, DOUGLAS 16
– Darrell Moody