RENO - Bryan Maffei exploded with another big game for the Carson High football team on Saturday.
It still wasn't enough to offset the aerial game of Bishop Manogue quarterback Cody Manguso, as the Miners scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 34-25 nonconference victory against Carson on a cool and breezy afternoon at D.J. Benardis Field.
The game hinged on a one-minute span early in the fourth quarter when Carson (2-1) saw a 25-21 advantage turn into a 34-25 deficit as Manogue (1-1) took advantage of a short punt and fumble recovery to score touchdowns on two successive plays. Manguso threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Patrick O'Neil for the go-ahead score with 9:06 left to play, and then following the lost fumble, Jeff Cercek broke a 22-yard run for an insurance touchdown with 8:04 showing on the clock.
"They scored bang, bang. That's two touchdowns we can't make up," Carson coach Shane Quilling said. "Take those away and who knows what would have happened."
Maffei rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns, to go along with 62 receiving yards and another 100 yards in kick returns - giving him 393 all-purpose yards on the day. The senior, who has scored nine touchdowns already this season, scored on runs of 9, 9, 2 and 58 yards.
"No. 3 is a great athlete," said Paul Mills, who celebrated his first win as head coach at Manogue. "He sees the field so well and he's so quick, he really makes people miss him."
Manguso was pretty elusive himself, as Manogue's senior quarterback completed 12 of 22 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He threw no interceptions and significantly, against a Carson defense that had eight sacks in two previous games, he went down only once (Carson's Jonas Schenzel and Chris Ames combined on a third-quarter sack).
Also of significance, O'Neil and Andrew Lujan combined on five pass receptions from Manguso that went for 28 yards or more. Lujan caught a 28-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to cut Carson's lead to 18-15, while O'Neil had scoring catches of 13 and 32 yards in the second half.
"Our inexperience in the defensive backfield showed up today because we made some serious gaffes on our coverage," Quilling said. "Bottomline, though, they went from not being able to run the ball to being able to run well enough to make their passing game more effective."
Manogue rushed for 53 yards in the first half and 101 in the second half.
"Carson's a pretty good team," said Mills, whose Miners lost their season opener last week 46-24 against Hug. "They're a lot different than Hug is. Hug is so big; Carson flies around pretty good and they're very active on defense. It took a while to get adjusted to that, but the kids came back and gave a great effort. This was a great win for us."
Carson's first score came after a 63-yard punt by Steve Sawyers to the 11, followed by Jason Dittenber's fumble recovery at the 9. The Senators capitalized one play later when Maffei took an inside handoff and burst 9 yards to the end zone. The Senators came back on their next possession and mounted a 10-play, 59-yard drive that culminated with Maffei's 9-yard cutback off right tackle for a 12-0 lead.
Manogue answered with a 13-play, 70-yard drive capped by Manguso's 21-yard scramble for a touchdown.
However, Maffei turned the momentum back in Carson's favor as he returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards. Coupled with a personal foul penalty, the Senators started from the 29, and eight plays later, Maffei blasted into the end zone virtually untouched from 2 yards out behind the center of the offensive line.
Carson extended its lead to 25-15 just 42 seconds into the third period as Maffei broke a 58-yard touchdown run. Manogue cut the deficit to 25-21 on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Manguso to O'Neil as time expired in the third quarter.
The tide began to turn early in the fourth quarter as Manogue's defense came up big when Daniel Smith and Kyle Martinmaas delivered back-to-back sacks and forced Carson to punt. The ensuing 11-yard punt by Sawyers gave the Miners possession at the 32, and on the next play, O'Neil caught a pass from Manguso and powered the final five yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 9:04. Moments later, Kyle SUllivan jarred the ball loose from Maffei and Manogue recovered at the 22. One play later, Cercek took a toss around right end and ran 22 yards for a touchdown, aided over the final 5 yards by a downfield block from receiver Ben Gurries.
Carson came back with one more drive of its own, ignited by Maffei runs of 14 and 21 yards, only to lose momentum when Manogue's Daniel Smith broke up an option play, resulting in a 14-yard loss on second-and-4. The Senators eventually turned the ball over on downs when quarterback Chris McBroom was sacked for a 1-yard loss at the 37 - Manogue's fifth sack of the game.
"We've been working on rolling out to throw the ball, but we're not getting it done," Quilling said. "We have good receivers and we have a good quarterback. We've just got to do a better job on our pass protection."
McBroom was 6-for-13 passing, though he was 5-for-6 in the first half and 74 of his 81 yards passing came before the intermission. Two of his passes were intercepted and both led to Manogue touchdowns.
For Manogue, O'Neil caught six passes for 133 yards and Lujan had four receptions for 74 yards.
While Quilling felt the Senators hit bottom on their fuel gauge late in the game, the fact they only had 26 players suited was not used as an excuse.
"They didn't have that many suited up, either, but we did run out of gas big-time, especially in the fourth quarter," he said. "Manogue was just the better team today. We've got to get better, that's all."
The Senators open their Sierra League season at home this coming Friday night against arch rival Douglas.
Carson's Will Holbert caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Hammond in the first half, but also had a 99-yard kick return called back by a penalty as the Senators lost to Manogue 36-8.
Carson trailed 16-8 at halftime. Aaron Jocover and Todd Banko played well on defense, according to the Carson coaching staff.
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