Great Scott! What a finish for Senators!
RENO – The Carson Senators showed the most important muscle in football is the heart. But a quarterback with a strong arm and a tall receiver don’t hurt, either.
Kyle Bacon’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Scott Witter with five seconds left finished an improbable comeback as Carson scored three touchdowns in the last six minutes, 40 seconds to beat Wooster 34-33 on Saturday at Joe Sellers Field. In that span, the Senators (3-5, 2-2) went from being virtually eliminated from the Northern 4A playoff race to having a chance to virtually assure itself at least a third place finish and a playoff spot with a win over Reno at home on Friday.
The Senators’ comeback came a week after it was a victim of a comeback in a 42-41 loss at South Tahoe in which Carson let a 21-point lead slip away.
It was the type of game where the goat could become the hero for a team that’s been through its share of adversity and is down to 28 players. Bacon had to overcome a first half in which he committed three turnovers – two in which Wooster’s defense turned into scores – as the Colts took a 21-7 halftime lead. Witter also had to come back from an ankle injury he sustained in the first half to become another hero.
“We’ve had two fun games in a row,” Carson coach Shane Quilling said. “The 28 guys that we have are giving everything.”
Carson took over with 29 seconds left at its own 32-yard line. Bacon completed a 32-yard pass to Andrew Rodriguez, who got out of bounds at the Wooster 40 with 13 seconds left. Bacon then hit Witter at the 10, who took the ball into the end zone.
Quilling said with his tall receivers, Matt Moore and Witter, there’s always a chance. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.
“Good things can happen if you throw it up. You always need a little luck. I know exactly how they (Wooster) feel. You always need a little luck.”
For Bacon, the second half was redemption. “I had to play better, I had to,” he said. Witter’s great.
“He’s one of our best playmakers. I pretty much know if I throw the ball in his area, he’s going to come down with it.”
Witter said he felt a defender on the back of him when he caught the ball, but he had little trouble making into the end zone.
“We knew we had to go deep,” he said. “Kyle threw it right too me. I knew I could make a play on it. I turned around and it was daylight.”
A wild celebration ensued, but Carson still had unfinished business. Matt Mitchell had to make the extra point. After Donald McMurtry’s perfect snap and Bacon’s perfect hold, Mitchell nailed it.
Carson scored on its opening drive as Bryan Maffei’s 26-yard run got the Senators going. Bacon connected on a 22-yard scoring pass to Seth Carter and Mitchell connected on the PAT to make it 7-0.
Wooster came back to mount a drive that was kept alive by a questionable pass interference call on fourth down. Steve McNulty then connected with Cole Watson on an 11-yard TD pass to tie the score 7-7.
Bacon later fumbled the ball when he was sacked and Roman Schomberg scooped up the ball and took it 47 yards for a score. Mike Horrigan blocked the extra point to leave the score at 13-7.
On the ensuing drive, Bacon took Carson down the field before throwing an interception to Brian Arokorpi, who returned it 77 yards for a score. McNulty ran it in for the two-pointer to make it 21-7.
Carson had a chance to score before the end of the half on the strength of Kevin Neugenauer’s 33-yard, but couldn’t take advantage.
Wooster gambled on fourth and a yard at its own 29 to begin the second half and the gamble paid off when 225-pound Dexter Guerra ran 37 yards on a fake punt. The Colts drove down to Carson’s 6 when it appeared that Guerra’s forward progress was stopped.
But no whistle was blown and Geurra pitched the ball back to McNulty, who ran it in to make it 27-7. Carson responded on Neugenauer’s 1-yard run and Mitchell added the PAT to make it 27-14.
Jeremy Joustra’s 20-yard catch from McNulty set up McNulty’s 11-yard scoring pass to Mike McGough to make it 33-14. Bacon’s 58-yard scramble set up Neugenauer’s 2-yard TD run and after the Senators failed on the two-pointer, they trailed 33-20.
Corde Armstrong recovered the ensuing onside kick, but it was ruled that Carson had touched the ball before it went 10 yards, so Wooster retained possession. Wooster eventually faced a fourth and two at the 42 and instead of deciding to punt to pin Carson deep, the Colts decided to go for it and the Senator defense stepped up, stopping Guerra just short of the first down.
Bacon completed passes of 42, 11 and 9 yards to Moore, setting up Maffei’s 6-yard scoring run and Mitchell added the extra point to make it 33-27. Carson’s defense was then able to force Wooster to punt, setting up the late game heroics. Bacon was 12-of-17 for 229 yards.