Carson falls to Elko in overtime
It was another dramatic finish for the Elko Indians, only this time they came out on top.
As far as the Carson Senators were concerned, however, it all came down to some untimely mistakes as Elko pulled out a 19-13 overtime victory in the season-opener for sides,
Three successive offside penalties by Carson set the stage for Dallas Boyer’s game-ending 2-yard touchdown run at the end of a three-hour struggle between teams that expect to contend for berths in the Northern 4A regional playoffs come November.
Of course, this was Elko’s first game since losing a four overtime thriller to McQueen in the regional championship game last year. It wasn’t exactly what coach Bob Milligan hoped to see, either.
“I don’t have many more of these left in me,” Milligan said with a sigh. “I’m proud of the guys because they battled the whole way. We were fortunate to win the the game.”
The outcome was much different than last year’s opener in Elko, a game that Carson lost 48-16.
“Elko’s a good team, but so are we,” Quilling said. “We played hard. Last year it took a while for us to learn to play hard and with intensity. That’s something we talked about all offseason.”
It still wasn’t enough to beat the playoff-veteran Indians.
The Senators turned the ball over three times, including a fumble inside the Elko 5 at the end of the first quarter when the game was still scoreless. They also gave up 78 yards on 10 penalties, the most glaring an illegal downfield block that nullified a 95-yard touchdown run by quarterback Frank Bleuss that would have broken a 13-13 tie with six minutes remaining in regulation.
Then in overtime, Elko faced third-and-goal from the 10 and Matt Milligan lined up for a 28-yard field goal. After Carson’s three penalties, the ball was at the 2 and Boyer got the call for his second touchdown run of the night.
“That was kind of like the Twilight Zone there at the finish,” Milligan said.
Ultimately, the penalties may not have mattered because the one field goal attempt Milligan got off would have been good for the field goal.
Carson missed an opportunity to take its first lead of the game on the first series of the overtime. Starting from the 10, Chris Kotter carried for one yard and then Bleuss went for five. Bleuss carried for three more yards before he was stopped short of the goal line by Elko’s Lorenzo Flores. And on fourth down, Bleuss kept the ball again, only to be stopped inches away from the end zone by Jeff Cavender and Flores.
Down 13-0 in the third quarter, Jack Brooks recovered a fumble on a punt return at the 22 to set up Carson’s first score. On a third-and-1 play from the 13, Bleuss followed 160-pound center Nathan White for a first down. Four plays later, Bleuss scored on a 1-yard keeper to make it 13-6 with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Carson tied it with a 10-play, 62-yard drive. Kotter busted a 31-yard run to the 4 and then he followed Eric Rangel on a 2-yard touchdown run with 9:48 left. Rob Handley had a 9-yard run on a fake punt to give the Senators first down on Elko’s 47.
Elko broke a scoreless tie shortly before halftime when Matt Hughey ran 55 yards on a reverse and then Boyer followed with a 21-yard touchdown run. Matt Zander’s 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave the Indians their 13-0 lead.
“Take away three plays and we could have shut them out,” Quilling said. “Our defense played very well tonight. Any time you hold a team to 16 points, you should be able to win the game.”
Bleuss carried 30 times for 121 yards and Kotter gained 105 yards on 23 attempts. Boyer led Elko with 133 yards on 26 carries and Zander added 108 yards on nine carries.
ELKO 42, CARSON 20
Jason Thomas returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and Elko recovered a fumble in the end zone for another touchdown to trigger a 21-point first quarter.
Tilor Smith caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Derek Shoaf and also had a 50-yard touchdown run called back for Carson. Shoaf also scored on a 47-yard run in the fourth quarter and Alex Martinez scored on a 2-yard run for the Senators.
ELKO 21, CARSON 6
Jack Jacquette scored on a quarterback sneak and Kevin Holmes played well on defense, according to Carson coach Jim Franz.