RENO – There is something about playing North Valleys that brings out the best in Colby Brown.
Two years ago as a sophomore, Brown rushed for 202 yards in a 40-27 Carson victory.
On Friday, despite battling flu-like symptoms, Brown rushed for 250 yards and two scores to lead the Senators to a 35-21 win over the Panthers in a nonleague contest.
The win was the second straight for Carson, while North Valleys drops to 1-2. Carson hosts Spanish Springs next Friday at 7 p.m.
Brown and backfield mate Elijah Fajayan (13 carries, 125 yards) led the Senators’ 470-yard offensive effort.
“I wasn’t feeling too good at the beginning,” Brown said. “I started feeling better at the half. I started feeling it (flu) yesterday.
“I wasn’t really thinking about two years ago. That was two years ago, and a lot has happened since. I knew I was doing OK because we were moving the ball really well. The offensive line did an outstanding job tonight.”
That’s an understatement.
The group of Josue Orozco and Kevin Rusler, centers Austin Ackerman and Corey Jasper, and Eddie Duarte and Maurilio Olivares opened up holes as wide as the Grand Canyon all night.
Brown carried 29 times, leaving the field rarely, and when he did exit, Fajayan more than picked up the slack. It was a lot of work, but Brown likes to have the ball in his hands.
“He is this year’s version of Dylan (Sawyers),” coach Blair Roman said. “I think you will see a lot of that this year. He may get 20 carries. He may get 30 carries. It depends on the situation.
“We executed very well. We didn’t throw a lot. We blocked very well up front, and Colby and Elijah ran very hard and very well.”
Carson turned the game around in the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns on their first three possessions to break open a 7-all halftime tie.
The second half started in ominous fashion with Carson being penalized 15 yards for coming onto the field late to start the second half.
It didn’t matter.
Brown put together consecutive 9-yard runs, and then Fajayan broke loose for a 62-yard TD run. Johnny Barahona’s PAT made it 14-7 with 11:06 left in the third quarter.
Carson gave the score right back on the ensuing drive, as North Valleys QB Melando Cachapero, with the help of 26 yards in penalties by Carson, drove the Panthers 80 yards for a game-tying score. Cachapero (18 carries, 72 yards) covered the final 11 yards himself. The PAT made it 14-all.
The high-powered Carson offense went back to work, taking advantage of NV having to kick into the wind. Mathias Williams’ 21-yard return gave the Senators excellent field position at the 45, and they didn’t waste it.
A 15-yard run by Fajayan, a 10-yard reception by Brown and a 22-yard run by Brown put the ball at the NV 3. After quarterback Nolan Shine was thrown for a 3-yard loss, Brown carried down to the 1. Brown was held to no gain on third down, but Fajayan dove over the pile on the next play to make it 21-14 with 6:11 remaining.
The Carson defense took center stage, holding the Panthers to a rare three-and-out. The Panthers punted out to midfield, and Alex Frasier roughed Dilyn Rooker while he fair caught the ball.
The 15-yard penalty gave Carson the ball at the NV 35., and six running plays later, Brown scored on a 3-yard run. Barahona’s PAT made it 28-14 with 2:39 left.
North Valleys drove to Carson’s 19 on the ensuing possession but was turned away on a fourth-and-4 play as Logan Menzel and Ikela Lewis pressured Cachapero.
Carson got another stop when Asa Carter made a diving interception at the Carson 19, and then later scored on a 13-yard TD run for a 35-14 lead.
“The defense did a good job,” Roman said. “Their quarterback is a good athlete and runs that ride and decides really well. Once our kids got the hang of it we did a lot better. We didn’t give up any big plays tonight.”