Defense came up big to set the table, then in the end, sophomore quarterback Chris McBroom came up big on the offensive end as the Carson High football team rallied for a 13-7 victory at home against Elko on Friday night.
McBroom busted an option play 67 yards, then scored moments later on a 2-yard run to break a 7-7 tie with 58 seconds left in the game, lifting the Senators to the nonconference win.
Elko took a 7-0 halftime lead on Bryan Wilson's 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. But Carson (2-0) shook off its offensive doldrums in the second half to get past the stubborn Indians (0-2).
The game-breaker came after Elko's Aaron Byers missed a 49-yard field goal attempt with 2:19 showing on the clock (he missed a 50-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter.
Taking over from the 20, Scott Witter caught a 7-yard pass from McBroom on first down. On the next play, McBroom drew Elko's defensive front inside on a fake to Maffei, then scooted around right end for a 67-yard run to the 6.
"It was a read on an option play and I pulled it back in," McBroom said. "I was so excited when I turned the corner and saw the field open."
Three plays later, McBroom again faked inside to Maffei, then broke off his tackle into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown at the end of a real battle.
"You've got to hand it to them. They played well," Carson coach Shane Quilling said of the Indians, who were coming off a 35-14 season opening loss one week before against Spring Creek. "They're big and physical. We knew they would play better this week. We knew it was going to be a dog fight."
That it was.
Bryan Maffei, who rushed for 337 yards and four touchdowns in Carson's season-opening 31-7 win over Moapa Valley last week, was held to 26 yards in the first half and finished the night with 96 yards rushing on 21 carries, including a 19-yard TD run to tie the score in the third quarter.
The Senators drove to Elko's 16 and 21 on their opening two possessions, but they came away empty handed both times.
"They're big and physical up front," Quilling said. "They took us out of a lot of things we do. We weren't able to throw the ball like I thought we could because of their stunts. We didn't give Chris enough time to throw."
Elko got on the scoreboard when McBroom threw an overhand lateral to the right flat that Maffei was unable to handle. Wilson picked up the loose ball and took it into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
"I'll take the blame for that play," Quilling said. "It was supposed to be a forward pass, but basically, it was a play we hadn't practiced and it cost us. It was a stupid call by me."
Otherwise, the Carson defense didn't give up much at all. Elko only managed 10 yards in total offense during the first half and finished the night with 117 yards overall. The Indians rushed for 40 yards and Kade Anderson was 4-for-12 for 56 yards in the passing department - the last of which was intercepted by cornerback Ryan Jesse at Carson's 25 with just 20 seconds remaining.
"Our defense was great," Jesse said. "We were aggressive and we never let up. That guy (Anderson) is a player. We knew we couldn't give him time. We played aggressive and we kept the heat on."
Carson's defense sacked Anderson four times and now has eight sacks in two games.
So, down 7-0 at the intermission, what did Quilling tell the Senators in the locker room?
"I just told them, we have 24 minutes left, if we win the second half, we win the game," he said. "They showed a lot of character and a lot of pride, and that was the best part. I was proud of the kids. It was a great effort. And it's great to be 2-0."
Carson scored on a 90-yard pass play from quarterback Mitch Hammond to Will Holbert on the opening play of the game, however, the play was called back by an illegal downfield receiver penalty. That set the tone for the Senators, who went on to absorb an 18-7 loss against Elko.
Aaron Jocover scored on a 15-yard run to give Carson a 7-0 lead. The score was set up by a 40-yard pass from Hammond to tight end Nick Cutinelli. Carson still led 7-6 at halftime, but turned the ball over three times in the second half and Elko scored two more touchdowns en route to the win.
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.