Senators defeat Wooster
Appeal Sports Writer
Carson Senators football coach Shane Quilling had said all season that his team was its own worst enemy. And although the Wooster Colts gave the Senators a run for their money for Public Enemy No. 1 on Friday, Carson was once again at the root of its own misadventures.
Be that as it may, several Senators stepped up when it mattered most and Carson survived a scare on Homecoming to take a 14-7 Sierra League victory over Wooster at Carson High School.
With the win, Carson improved to 2-1 in league and 2-4 overall, while the hard-luck Colts fell to 0-3, 1-5.
“Until we figure out how not to beat ourselves, we will struggle every game,” Quilling said. “Yes, we’re 2-1 (in league), but we have to figure it out.”
Wooster dominated the Senators in the first quarter and Colts senior running back Eric Marshall – who gained 99 of his 140 yards in the first 12 minutes – galloped in for a 37-yard touchdown 4 minutes, 3 seconds into the game to put Wooster up 7-0.
The Colts defense held Carson to five offensive plays and 24 yards in the first quarter while its offense stayed on the field for nearly 10 minutes.
Wooster held a 161-68 edge in offense in the first half.
After holding Carson to five plays in its only first-quarter possession, Wooster went on a 15-play drive, beginning on its own 23-yard line. Colts senior running back Narsico Esparza tried to find the end zone on a fourth-and-goal from the 2, but was stopped cold by a pair of Carson linebackers – junior linebacker Jeff Butler and sophomore Erik Roberson, who were among four Senators in on the play.
“(Senior) Daniel Faiella was squeezing the hole on them and bounced around on (Esparza) and gave us a chance to rush in,” Roberson said.
“It was four guys making the hit,” said Butler, who would soon be involved in another crucial play. “It was a great team effort out there.”
After a six-play drive of its own, Carson pushed the Colts back to their own 30 after a 45-yard punt by quarterback Mitch Hammond, who was 2-for-3 for 22 yards passing on the night.
On Wooster’s subsequent drive, Carson junior defensive end Blake Davidson recorded one of his two sacks of quarterback Matt Trabert and Carson held the Colts to a three-and-out.
That’s when Butler stormed through the line and blocked Alex Gonzalez’s punt and junior cornerback Steve Fowzer fell on the ball on the 4.
“I got a break – they got a hand on me – and I did a swing move and pretty much had a free shot at the block,” Butler said.
“Going in, I thought I’d block it too, but I saw (Butler) block it and I slowed down and waited for the ball to get on the ground and recovered it,” Fowzer said. “Coach (Quilling) always says that special teams changes games and momentum. I knew right away it was a game-changer.”
That it was and senior running back Will Holbert, making his return after missing a week with an injured ankle, ran it in for a score the next play to tie the game 7-7.
Holbert had a team-high 91 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
Carson victimized itself with an unofficial 10 penalties, including a delay of game call on a fourth-and-1 from Wooster’s 26, which ended an eight-play drive to open the third quarter, robbing it of some momentum.
The Senators were also called for roughing the kicker on a Gonzalez punt from the Colts’ 25 in the fourth quarter, which extended what turned out to be an 11-play drive.
“It’s frustrating for us as coaches and players,” Quilling said of the miscues. “Hopefully we can overcome it. We didn’t underestimate them. They had nothing to lose. It was our mistakes that killed us again – I sound like a broken record.”
Carson’s defense came alive at the right time, however, and held the Colts, who outgained Carson 230-227, to 69 yards in the second half.
“We were in a Cover 3. The game balanced out and it (the Cover 3) gave us a rover out there and it shut down their fly sweep,” Butler said of the Senators’ second-half defense. “We’re still trying to play a four-quarter game. We’ve yet to do it. We’ve played two, two-and-a-half. We need to get our heads straight and get focused.”
Carson’s offense got untracked and went on a seven-play scoring drive beginning in the third quarter, culminating with 10:49 remaining in the game with a 25-yard run by senior Chris McBroom, who is playing with a torn ligament and torn muscle in his back.
“Yeah, it’s worth it,” said McBroom, who has missed practice and gets cortisone injections every week and gained 75 yards on nine carries. “I sat out my junior year with an injury and I’m not going to sit out my senior year.”
McBroom credited his offensive line for paving the way for him on the score.
“I just ran a 16 veer outside the tackle,” said McBroom, who along with Holbert fell short to Jordan Nash, who was named Homecoming King. “(Senior tight end) Nick Cutunilli was burying defensive tackles all night so we could run the veer. Caleb Gradert and Daniel Faiella were putting backers on their backs.
“They’ve been working on getting to the second level (the linebackers) and just chopping them down at the first level (the line) so we get longer plays.”
Wooster had only three penalties unofficially, but one was especially costly. Esparza scored on 61-yard touchdown on a reverse with about 5 minutes to go, but it was called back on a holding penalty.
“We had a good game plan, but once Carson’s defense adjusted we had a hard time executing,” said first-year Wooster coach Gray Levy. “We’re one play away from being a decent football team. They took away our weakside run. We tried it on the strong side, but we never got it going. That goal-line stop was the difference.”
Carson will travel to Reno on Friday to face the Hug Hawks, who took a 26-25 win over Damonte Ranch on Friday.
“We know we have to play better next week against Hug,” Quilling said. “We got what we wanted. Winning is the most important thing. It doesn’t have to be pretty. We can work on ugly. But as ugly as it was, they found a way to get it done.
“The kids persevered. Their backs were against the wall. Wooster had a chance to go up 14-0. We went down in the score and faced adversity and found a way to get a win. That’s the great thing about this team: They never back down.”