Fumble-happy Carson holds off Damonte
RENO – Chance Quilling walked off the field late in the fourth quarter, sweat poring from his face.
“I’m tired,” Quilling said after scoring a touchdown.
Quilling had every right to be tired. Besides a standout defensive game, the talented two-way star rushed for 118 yards and added 53 more on four pass receptions to key Carson High’s 28-21 win over Damonte Ranch Friday night.
The win, Carson’s fifth straight, moved the Senators to 5-1. Damonte Ranch dropped to 2-4.
“Chance had a great game,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “He just played phenomenal football on both sides of the ball.”
“That was probably one of the most fun games I’ve ever played,” said Quilling. “I was gassed (at the end). I was pretty tired, but I knew I had to get back out there (and finish).”
The 118-yard effort was Quilling’s first 100-yard rushing game, and he did it on just 10 carries. He played a significant role in every Carson score, including a 20-yard TD run with 4:33 left that gave Carson a 28-14 lead.
“The plays that I had success with were supposed to go to the outside, but the end kept coming up and we went inside,” Quilling said.
Carson had to fight to the end in this one.
The Senators stopped Damonte on down at its own 23 after Austin Pacheco tackled Drew Smith for a 4-yard loss on a fourth-and-9 play.
Quilling gained eight to the 15, but Joey Thurman coughed up the ball at the Damonte 4 on the next play and the ball was recovered by Jonah Chalk.
Damonte was forced to pass, and the Mustangs scratched out four first downs before a Smith pass near the right sideline was picked off by Clint Page at the Carson 22.
With 1:17 remaining, this on should have been over, but it wasn’t thanks to another fumble by Matt Nolan and some questionable play calling.
With Damonte having just one timeout left, it was expected that Carson would kneel down and run out the clock.
Roman had other ideas.
Thurman gained four up to the 26, and then Nolan fumbled and Jason Snodgrass returned it 24 yards for a score. Grant Cooper’s PAT made it 28-21 with 59.9 remaining.
“I was going to it (victory formation) after the second play (Nolan’s fumble),” Roman said. “I knew they had one timeout left. Looking back, I probably should have taken a knee.”
After Carson recovered the onsides kick at midfield, the Senators did run out the clock.
“We played well in the second quarter and had the momentum,” Roman said. “They had a good third quarter. They did the same thing when they played Spanish Springs.
“We played well in the first quarter, second quarter and fourth quarter. It came down to executing in the final quarter. We knew where we wanted to attack and executed well. Give Damonte credit for getting back in the game.”
Trailing 13-0 at the half, Damonte took the second-half kick-off and drove 83 yards with Smith accounting for 75 of them, including a 5-yard TD run, which cut the lead to 13-7 after the PAT.
After Nolan fumbled at the Damonte 45, the Mustangs scored three plays later when Smith found Matt Anderson wide open along the right side for a 45-yard scoring pass. The PAT gave Damonte its first lead of the game, 14-13.
Carson answered back with authority, driving 85 yards in 16 plays with Austin Pacheco capping the drive with a 1-yard run on a third-and-goal play. Pacheco, however, missed the PAT leaving Carson with a 19-14 lead with 8:27 left in the game.
Quilling had carries of 20 and 11 yards on the drive, and Nolan, who passed for 187 yards, had a key 13-yard run for a first down to the Damonte 25 on the drive.
The key play of the game came four snaps later when the Damonte center, on fourth down, snapped the ball over the head of the Damonte punter and out of the end zone for a safety to give the Senators a 21-14 lead.
Thurman returned the ensuing kick-off to the Carson 49, and three pays later Nolan found Brock Pradere for 37 yards down to the 20, setting up Quilling’s score on the next play.
Roman was happy with Carson’s defense about 75 percent of the time. Smith gashed the Senators in the third quarter, partially because Carson couldn’t seem to get lined up correctly.
Damonte managed just 206 total yards compared to 409 for the Senators, who played for a second straight week without Dylan Sawyers.