Carson snaps Sierra skid
The Sierra League drought is over.
After going winless in 2012, Carson High snapped a four-game league losing streak with a wild 38-35 win over Damonte Ranch in its homecoming game Friday night.
The last Sierra League win for Carson was a 47-28 victory over Reno on Nov. 4, 2011.
Carson made this one tougher than it should have been. The Senators, 4-2 and 1-0, nearly blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead before holding on for the win. The wild fourth quarter produced 42 total points, 28 by Damonte. The Mustangs scored 21 points in the final 3 minutes 19 seconds.
“This was a huge win for us, especially after last week,” Carson coach Blair Roman. “I think we made some boneheaded mistakes that let them back into the game in the fourth quarter. They got a break on an onside kick when it bounced off the leg of one of our players. The ball bounced their way (on that one).”
“It was a very important game in terms of our confidence,” said two-way lineman Andrew Cooper. “It gives us confidence that we can play with anybody and beat anybody.”
Carson, which was held to 92 yards total offense in the first half, came alive offensively in the third quarter. The Senators scored on three straight possessions in the period to break a 7-all deadlock and take a 24-17 lead. Two of the scores were set up by special teams mistakes.
After Carson failed to moved the ball on its first possession, Stefan Sobkiewicz’s punt bounced off the left shoulder of a Damonte player and was recovered by Carson at the Damonte 29. After two runs by Nevin Elliott (14 carries, 98 yards), Joey Thurman broke loose for a 19-yard scoring run. The PAT by Sobkiewicz made it 14-7 with 8:38 left.
Carson’s defense held on the next possession, forcing Damonte to punt. Quarterback Kyle Daugherty, who is the team’s punter, bobbled the snap and threw an incomplete pass which turned the ball over on downs at the Damonte 39.
Two straight runs by Thurman pushed the ball to the 12. Damonte stepped up on third down and stopped Elliott a yard short of the first down at the 3. Sobkiewicz came on to kick a 20-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 4:24 left in the third.
The Carson defense again stepped up on the next possession, sacking Daugherty for a 6-yard loss to force another punt. Carson marched right downfield and scored again, as Elliott capped a 69-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run, the first of his two scores on the night. The key play in the drive was a 42-yard halfback option pass from Thurman to Dilyn Rooker down to the 9. Elliott scored two plays later. The PAT made it 24-7 with 1:19 left in the period.
“The defense stepped up, and those plays gave us good field position which we capitalized on,” Roman said.
It was a big quarter for the offensive line. Save for the 42-yard option pass, the Senators continually pounded the ball, and continually moved the chains.
“We just got fired up,” Cooper said. “We were getting beat up the first half. The stunts they were running was some of the issue, but it comes down to we were not going hard enough.”
“The second half we stepped up and played Carson football,” Thurman said. “We got physical. The offensive line did a tremendous job; played their hearts out. Our line got chippy. We wanted to be the bully out there. We wanted to be the hammer instead of the nail.”
Damonte took the ensuing kick-off and drove 70 yards in 12 plays to cut the lead to 24-14 with 9:10 left in the game. Daugherty capped the drive with a 1-yard run. The two biggest plays on the drive were a 13-yard run by Jared Blake and a 20-yard pass from Daugherty to Blake. The pass play gave the Mustangs a first down at the CHS 15, and Damonte scored four plays later.
Carson extended its lead to 31-14 with 3:42 left on Thurman’s 26-yard scoring run. By all rights that should have been the ballgame, but it wasn’t.
Carson tried a pooch kick which was recovered by Carson’s Anthony Estrada at the Damonte 26 with 3:38 left.
That’s when the game got interesting. Carson went for broke on first down, but Garrett Schafer’s pass was intercepted by Austin Price in the endzone, giving the Mustangs some life.
“I was trying to put the game away,” Roman said when asked about the play. “Our tight end ran the wrong route, and the guy covering him made the interception.”
Damonte scored on the next play when Daugherty and Blake hooked up for an 80-yard TD which made it 31-21. On the ensuing onside kick, the ball bounced off Chase Blueberg’s leg an was recovered by Travis Priestly at the Damonte 48. Three plays later, Daugherty and Blake hooked up for a 17-yard scoring play. The PAT made it 31-28 with 2:42 left.
Carson recovered the next onside kick at its own 48. Four plays later, Elliott broke off a 35-yard TD run. Sobkiewicz’s PAT made it 38-28 with 1:09 left.
Damonte took the kick-off and drove 67 yards for a score, Daugherty covering the final 3 yards on a keeper, cutting the lead to 38-35 with 16 seconds left. Carson again covered an onside kick and ran out the clock.