Carson High football team scores 28 unanswered points in win over Lower Lake
The moment came in an instant but seemed to be run in slow motion.
The Carson football team faced fourth and four at the Lower Lake 30-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Carson trailed 27-13 at the time when Johnny LaPlante appeared to have handed the ball off to Chance Smith and it looked like Smith was being tackled for a loss.
But it was LaPlante who instead at the last possible moment took the ball from Smith and ran 30 yards for the score.
Carson kept the momentum with the play and went onto to score 28 unanswered points on its way to a season-opening 34-27 win over Lower Lake of Northern California on Friday at CHS.
“It’s a fly read,” LaPlante said. “We read the D (defensive) end; if he bites on it… At the last moment if he bites…”
“Just a perfect read and a perfect run,” CHS coach Blair Roman said. “That was a big momentum shifter. We had run the fly pretty well.
“We just thought it was the right play. The line blocked it nice. Johnny did the rest. That was a big play for sure.”
Ben Granados kicked the extra point after LaPlante’s touchdown to pull Carson to within 27-20.
Carson then held the Trojans deep in their own territory and a short punt gave the Senators the ball at the Lower Lake 19. LaPlante would score on a 3-yard run, but a bad snap on the extra point attempt prevented the Senators from tying the game, leaving the Trojans ahead 27-26.
Lower Lake then faced a fourth and four at its own 40 and with a shaky punt game decided to go for it. But Carl Cavner sacked Trojan quarterback Elijah Hernandez for a 4-yard loss, giving Carson the ball at the Lower Lake 36.
CHS went on to take the lead on Smith’s 11-yard scoring run. LaPlante ran it in for the 2-point conversion to give the Senators a 34-27 lead.
Carson sacked Hernandez twice on the Trojans’ final drive to thwart any comeback attempt. Luke Konrad and Manny Vasquez combined on a sack to stall the drive and Brad Maffei sacked Hernandez on Lower Lake’s final play.
Carson had to overcome plenty of adversity to come back from a 27-6 deficit.
“To be honest I think that was the ugliest first half of football at Carson High School ever since I’ve been here,” Roman said. “What was awesome was the way the kids came back in the second half.”
Carson continued to hurt itself to begin the second half when Granados made a spectacular diving interception, but the play was waved off by a penalty. Hernandez went on to score on a 7-yard run to give the Trojans a 27-6 lead.
Carson began its comeback when Smith scored on a 10-yard run to bring the Senators to within 27-13.
The Senators had a nice drive going in the first half to begin the game, but two bad snaps, one during the series and one on a punt attempt, gave the Trojans the ball all the way up at the CHS 23.
That set up an 18-yard TD pass from Hernandez to Darian James to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead.
Carson had to punt on its next series, but JoJo Acosta’s punt pinned the Trojans at their 7. Lower Lake, though, drove 93 yards with Hernandez completing a 25-yard scoring pass to James to give the Trojans a 13-0 lead.
Carson responded on the aforementioned fly run when Smith scored from 66 yards to make it 13-6.
Lower Lake then tried a fake punt, but lost 10 yards back to its own 22. LaPlante ran 18 yards to the 4, but was stripped of the ball, stopping that threat.
Carson hurt itself again when a running into the punter penalty kept a Trojan drive alive. Hernandez connected with James on their third scoring pass from 14 yards and Hernandez ran it in for the 2-pointer to give Lower Lake a 21-6 lead.
Carson had a chance to score before the half, but fumbled the ball away for a second time inside the 10.
Hernandez went 10-for-15 for 199 yards in the first half, but just 7-of-16 for 79 yards in the second half to finish 17-for-31 for 278 yards.
Smith ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, LaPlante ran for 92 yards on 11 carries and Maffei added 53 yards on nine carries. Gilbert Vasquez also had an interception for Carson.