Carson's comeback effort falls short against Wooster

Sutter Reynolds of Carson High returns an interception to the Wooster 13-yard line Thursday night.

Sutter Reynolds of Carson High returns an interception to the Wooster 13-yard line Thursday night.

Down 18 in the fourth quarter, Carson's offense found nearly everything it had been looking for this season and put Wooster on the brink Thursday night.

The Carson High football team nearly had a comeback for the ages.

Down seven and facing a fourth-and-goal from the Wooster 5-yard line with 17 seconds left in regulation, Senator quarterback Jonny Laplante tried to hit a cutting wide receiver across the back of the end zone.

The pass was heavily contested and ultimately fell incomplete as Wooster regained possession, took one snap in victory formation and walked out of Carson with a 35-28 win.

Not only does the loss come on Senior Night for the Senators, but it also drops Carson to 2-7 overall and 0-4 in Sierra League play, eliminating a potential postseason chance.

"We had our chance there at the very end on the last play to tie it up and just came up a little bit short," said Carson High football coach Blair Roman.

Putting together the comeback

After the third quarter yielded only punts from both teams, Carson opened the final 12 minutes with some momentum as it started to piece together a drive while down 28-10.

The Senators eventually traveled 65 yards on 18 plays as Jackson Kalicki booted a 22-yard field goal through the uprights to make it a two possession contest, 28-13, with 7:14 to play.

Roman opted for the Senators to kick an onside and Kalicki delivered with a perfectly executed kick that Carson was able to recover.

The home sideline exploded as the Senators needed four plays to go 53 yards, cutting the deficit to 28-20 after Will Breeding hit Luke Conrad on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 5:52 left in the fourth quarter.

Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez had three carries on the drive that chewed up 44 yards prior to the score.

With just under six minutes remaining, Carson elected to kick it deep and Wooster stumbled around on the return, opening its possession at its own 11-yard line.

After two first downs, Carson used its remaining timeouts to stop the clock as the Colts had a third-and-eight at their own 46.

Wooster gained seven yards on the third down carry before deciding to try for the sticks on fourth-and-one at Carson's 48.

The Senator defense stuffed the Colts' attempt on fourth down and took the ball back with three minutes to go.

Three plays after the defensive stop, Breeding tossed his second touchdown of the night to Bradley Maffei, who went 43 yards bring Carson within two, 28-26.

Laplante took a quarterback keeper into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and knotted the contest at 28-all with 2:31 left.

"It was just a great comeback by the kids," said Roman. "The kids really executed well under pressure."

Carson's defense, which had held the Colts silent the entire second half, couldn't contain Wooster on its final drive.

Wooster quarterback Jace Papke completed three straight passes – the final one into the hands of Charles Seals for a 36-yard touchdown, giving Wooster a 35-28 lead with 92 seconds left on the clock.

Even after a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff, the Senators were still able to drive 67 yards in less than 90 seconds before getting stopped at the goal line.

Laplante and Breeding combined for 208 passing yards, unofficially, against Wooster. The duo had 648 passing yards total, coming into Thursday night.

Second quarter gets away

Carson jumped on Wooster right out of the gate.

Senator defensive back Sutter Reynolds intercepted Papke's first pass of the game, which set up Carson at the Colts' 13-yard line.

Bradley Maffei gave the blue and white a quick lead on a 13-yard run to push the Senators up 7-0 inside of the game's first two minutes.

However, Wooster's Caleb Conway took the following kickoff 96 yards to make it 7-6 after Carson blocked the extra point.

The two teams traded field goals before the Colts scored again on special teams with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown from Tucker Baldwin.

Up 15-10, Wooster snagged two interceptions on defense and used quick drives to march down the field, ultimately gaining a 28-10 lead at the intermission.

"You give up two special teams touchdowns and that's the difference in the ballgame," said Roman. "It came back to haunt us, unfortunately."

UP NEXT: Carson will have a shot to play spoiler in its rivalry game at Douglas (3-6, 1-3) Friday with a chance to bring The Rivalry Trophy back to Carson.

"We've got our big rival next week and we need to regroup on Monday," Roman said.


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