Team effort. You almost always hear head coaches utter those words after a victory, but this wasn’t just Carson head coach Blair Roman tossing around cliches.
It was fact.
The Senators, led by Colby Brown’s five-TD effort, piled up 401 yards of total offense, the defense allowed a season-low 215 yards and Asa Carter blocked two punts in the 42-0 demolition of Bishop Manogue Friday night at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Carson improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in Sierra League play. Manogue dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-1 in league. Carson visits Galena next Friday.
The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Carson had three drives bog down deep in Manogue territory.
“I thought we played well, our best game of the year,” said Roman, whose team posted its first shutout since a 54-0 win over Hug in 2012. “Offensively, except for two drives that sputtered in the red zone, we did well. All three units did well. I thought our offense dominated, our defense obviously dominated and I thought our kicking game was dominant.
“We worked really hard this week. It was truly a team effort.”
Roman was concerned between the bye week and Homecoming his team wouldn’t get off to a fast start.
He shouldn’t have worried.
Elijah Fajayan took the opening kick-off 85 yards all the way to Manogue’s 11 where he was dragged down from behind.
“I’ve always loved returning kick-offs,” Fajayan said. “I saw one little hole and took off. My leg started to give out on me.”
“That was a good way to start the game,” Roman said. “They lost the last time they were on this field, and they didn’t want that to happen again.”
Brown, who rushed for 122 yards, scored two plays after Fajayan’s big return. Johnny Barahona’s PAT made it 7-0 just 43 seconds into the game.
Thanks to two penalties, the Miners put together their best drive of the game, getting all the way down to the Carson 27. Caulin Bartley intercepted a Connor Noland pass at the Carson 20 on a second-and-4 situation.
Carson drove to Manogue’s 16 on the ensuing possession, but Brown was tripped up short of a first down on his fourth-and-1 carry. On Carson’s next possession, Brown never got the handle from Joe Nelson on a second-down play from the Miners’ 16 and coughed up the ball on the first play of the second quarter.
Carson got a short-field TD on its next drive, as Brown scored on a 6-yard pass from Nelson. Barahona’s kick made it 14-0 with 7:29 left in the half.
That set the stage for a great special teams play by Carter.
On fourth-and-6 from the Manogue 27, Carter roared in from the outside and blocked the punt. Manogue covered it up at the 9, and Brown scored moments later on an 8-yard run to make it 21-0.
“Me and Ikela (Lewis) were on the outside,” Carter said. “He took on the lead blocker and I went after the kick. We had great communication on that one.”
He’s a heck of a player,” Roman said. “He comes to play. He finds a way to help the team win. That (first block) was a big play.”
Carson picked up where it left off in the second half, scoring on its first three possessions. Brown capped a 41-yard drive with a 2-yard run. Seamus Burns keyed the drive with a 12-yard run down to the Manogue 14.
“We were able to run power all night,” Brown said. “The offensive line did a great job opening up holes.”
Brady O’Keefe’s 44-yard punt return keyed a 31-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run by Brown which made it 35-0. Carson closed out its scoring with a 65-yard drive capped by Burns’ 1-yard scoring run.
On defense, until the last three plays of the game when Manogue picked up 67 yards against Carson reserves, the Senators were in control. Manogue’s freshman quarterback Noland was a miserable 3-for-17 for 39 yards with an interception, and the Miners only got into Carson territory three times the whole night. Manogue went six straight possessions without chalking up a first down. It should have been seven straight, but Carson was called for two major penalties on Manogue’s first drive, and both gave the Miners first downs.
Nolan Shine played a whale of a game with nine tackles unofficially. Playing just on defense all night was the ticket. His motor never stopped the entire game, and it might have been one of his best games ever.
“It was huge (just playing defense),” Shine said. “I wasn’t getting winded at all. It was nice to put up a donut. It shows how good our defense can be.”
“Nolan does a great job out there,” Carter said. “We came in well prepared.”
And the result was a dominating performance on Homecoming. You can’t ask for anything more.