It was smashmouth football. Plain and simple.
Carson High shook off the effects of last week’s heartbreaking loss to Reed and rushed for a season-best 486 yards en route to a 45-17 demolition of McQueen Friday night at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
The win evened Carson’s nonleague record at 2-2 entering next week’s final nonleague contest at North Valleys, a 48-0 loser against Douglas.
This was vintage Carson football, and McQueen was helpless to stop it. Carson had the ball 10 times and scored on seven of those drives.
The offensive line of Josh Thompson, Sheldon Miller, Bryceton Schilling, Blaise Bonomo, Brandon Macias and Dallin Schaffer opened up holes time and again.
“I was worried (about a letdown),” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “The kids came out ready to play. You could tell the intensity of last week’s game took its toll. The first quarter was touch and go. We had a fumble (on a punt) and an interception. We came out in the second half and picked it up. That is the sign of a good team.
“It was a grind it out type of game. Their defensive philosophy was to keep everything in front of them and make us drive the ball. The end of the second quarter we did that. They really wanted to stop Abel on the perimeter; the fly sweep. We have other options to go to.”
That other option was quarterback Jace Keema, who had the game of his life. Keema rushed 22 times for 186 yards and two scores, and he also threw two TD passes.
Carter, after being used more of a decoy than anything else for most of the first half, gained 169 yards and scored three times, including TD runs of 44 and 5 yards, respectively.
McQueen coach Jim Snelling said defending Carter was his main priority.
“We were trying to stop their best offensive weapon (Carter), and we did that for a while,” said Snelling, whose team dropped to 1-2. “They (Carson) are a good football team. They showed they have other guys who can make plays, and Abel eventually got his yards. I was proud of our effort. They just wore us down.”
There’s a lot of truth in the statement.
Carson ran 40 plays in the first half, holding the ball for 16 of the 24 minutes.
Carson’s opening drive set the tone.
Carson ran off 13 plays and held the ball for nearly five minutes, driving the ball to the Lancer 3. However, the Senators were forced to settle for a 27-yard Johnny Barahona field goal because of a holding penalty.
McQueen scored 10 unanswered points, as Zach Ball threw a 56-yard TD pass to Jadon Gold for a 7-3 lead with 4:02 left in the opening period. After Kenyon Perez picked off a Keema pass on the ensuing possession, the Lancers took a 10-3 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Nicholas Kutter.
Carson returned the favor, scoring on its next two drives to take a 17-10 lead at the half.
The first of the two scoring drives was an 11-play 70-yard trek, and the most impressive thing is the Senators had to convert just one third-down play.
Spencer Rogers ran for 11 yards and a first down at the Carson 48. Eight plays later, Keema scored on an 11-yard run. Barahona’s PAT tied the game at 10 with 5:14 left in the half.
A hold on the ensuing kick-off put McQueen in a hole at its own 10. A poor punt gave CHS great field position at the Lancer 46 with 3:40 left, and the Senators didn’t waste it.
The Senators kept the ball on the ground for seven straight plays, moving the ball to the McQueen 2 when Roman called timeout with 10 seconds left in the half.
Keema rolled right and found Carter in the end zone for the go-ahead score and a 17-10 halftime lead.
McQueen never recovered.
Carson came out of the gate fast, and the Senators’ defense settled in. Had it not been for a blown assignment in the secondary, McQueen wouldn’t have scored in the second half.
Carter scored on a 65-yard run to open the second half, but it was nullified because of a penalty. He was, however, credited with a 32-yard run to the McQueen 33.
Following a 28-yard run by Keema, Carter scored on a 5-yard run, his 10th rushing TD of the season, to make it 24-10.
After holding the Lancers without a first down, Carson ripped off a 61-yard scoring drive with Carter covering the final 44 to make it 31-10 with 7:33 left.
McQueen cut it to 31-17 when Gold got behind the Carson secondary to catch a 32-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-9 play.
“We have to stay in front of that,” Roman said. “We had breakdowns on both of those passing touchdowns.”
Carson rebounded with scores on its next two possessions, a 26-yard run by Keema and a 17-yard pass from Keema to Brandon Gagnon.