Carson’s Sinnott benefits from defensive key |

Carson’s Sinnott benefits from defensive key

Justin Lawson

It’s no secret that Carson’s duo of Dylan Sawyers and Mark Sinnott can give defenses fits with their differing running styles and elusiveness. So when the Senators ran for 324 yards in their 50-0 victory over North Valleys in the Northern 4A regional playoffs Friday, not even first-year Panthers’ coach Ty Gregg was surprised.

“They just did what they do and they did it very well,” Gregg said. “We gave them the ball a lot and that’s tough. We put our defense in a really, really tough spot by giving the football a lot and that’s a credit to their defense. They made their momentum and they made our mistakes happen.”

The easy win was largely a credit to the defense, but the running game is what capitalized on the Panthers’ errors. Sawyers had 10 carries for 109 yards and Sinnott had 69 yards on 13 attempts, with both running for two touchdowns each.

The Panthers’ defense keyed on Sawyers early on, as would any team for a back that had posted 753 yards coming into Friday’s game. But the pressure on Sawyers opened the door for the smaller Sinnott up the middle.

“They were bitting on him and he was giving good fakes,” Sinnott said. “The line up the middle was getting tough.”

The Senators use a Wing-T formation bringing Sawyers around the end before the snap, instead of directly behind the quarterback in a conventional I-formation. The play set allows defenses to know which side of the field Sawyers is running to before the ball is snapped. Sinnott lines up behind the quarterback and can provide the misdirection run up the middle or on the other side of Sawyers’ direction if the defense breaks contain.

As soon as Carson realized the defense was keyed in on Sawyers it was time for Sinnott to shine.

“I think they were just over-pursuing the fly action so that just opened things for Mark on the end,” Sawyers said. “Even when they came hot, we just ran outside of them all game. We had a little more speed than they did.”

Sawyers broke a 47-yard TD run in the first to get Carson on the board at 7-0.

On just his third run of the game, Sinnott scored on a 13-yard TD run to give Carson a 14-0 lead in the first. He scored again on a 7-yarder to start the second quarter to put Carson up 21-0.

“They probably just can’t see me because I’m so short,” Sinnott joked.

Gregg said the smaller Sinnott, who is 5-foot-8, is harder for defenses to pick up coming out of the backfield.

“I think that definitely is a fit for that type of offense,” Gregg said of the 5-foot-8 Sinnott. “Anytime with their misdirection offense or our zone scheme, the smaller back helps.”

The running game, though, didn’t stop with Sawyers and Sinnott, neither of whom played past the third quarter. Jeremy Cannon ran for 75 yards on six attempts and broke for a 39-yard run in the fourth quarter to give Carson its final score.

“I have to give it up to our line,” Sinnott said. “They’re blocking great, week in and week out. I think they probably work harder than anyone else on the team. They’ve had lots of reps all summer, all year and it’s shaped up.”