Too much Carter for Tigers
There was no secret what the Douglas Tigers needed to do on defense Friday night. The assignment was to contain or at least slow down Carson’s Abel Carter.
Carter set the tone from the start, however, as the elusive 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior busted the game’s second play from scrimmage for a 76-yard touchdown to put the Senators on track to a 59-28 regular season-ending victory against Douglas at Keith Roman Field.
When all was said and done, Carter set a school single-game record with 421 rushing yards to go with five touchdowns as Carson (1-3 Sierra League, 4-5 overall) posted a playoff-clinching win in the 76th meeting between neighboring rivals. Carter’s total is the second-most in Nevada history. Mike Kanellis rushed for 533 yards for Spanish Springs in 2004.
For Douglas (0-4, 2-8), the defeat closed out its season and ended a streak of consecutive playoff appearances that dated back to 2000.
“It was rough,” Douglas senior defensive end Austin Aiken said afterward. “We played hard and we fought. We didn’t give up.”
Down 42-7 at halftime, Douglas mounted a comeback bid with two quick touchdowns early in the third quarter.
The Tigers took the kickoff and drove 80 yards in seven plays, capped by quarterback Hunter Hickey’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Jack Overton. Moments later, Jayden Foster recovered a fumble on the kickoff to give the Tigers possession at the 30. Hickey moved the chains with runs of 7 and 12 yards, then on third down from the 10, the senior rolled right on a bootleg and threw a strike to Andrew Williams in the end zone for a touchdown that cut the deficit to 42-21.
The momentum was short lived, however, as Carter took a handoff on the next play from scrimmage and weaved his way to a back-breaking 66-yard touchdown.
Carter rushed for 304 yards on 16 carries and scored on runs of 76, 8, 2 and 80 yards in the first half alone.
Even when he didn’t score, Carter threw the lead block on Kyle Rudy’s 10-yard sweep around the right side that extended Carson’s lead to 21-0 in the first quarter. Oh, and for good measure, he intercepted a pass and was in on one quarterback sack.
Douglas won the coin toss and opted to kick off. The Senators went immediately to No. 34, who lined up in the wildcat formation and ran 13 yards to the 24 on first down. One play later, Carter hit the left side of his line and beat the Douglas defense in a foot race to the end zone.
“I think Abel is a very talented kid, their coaching staff did a good job preparing for us, and they beat us up front,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. “That’s the bottom line … you’ve got to win in the trenches.”
Monfiletto had no regrets about the decision to kick off to start the game.
“We always defer … and we wanted the advantage of the wind in the first quarter,” he said.
Douglas got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter with a nine-play, 84-yard drive that culminated when Hickey shook loose on a 29-yard touchdown run. Jack Overton ignited the drive with a 20-yard sweep around his left end. Dakota Lowden also converted a third-and-1 play with his 4-yard run to the Douglas 40.
Douglas finished off the scoring with 1:57 left to play when senior Maverick Duffy swept around right end on a 4-yard run for his first career touchdown. The play capped an eight-play, 85-yard drive.
Hickey had a big night overall with a season-best 184 yards on 20 carries and Douglas gained 303 yards on the ground as a team. Through the air, Hickey was 6-for-14 for 81 yards with three interceptions on a night when he faced constant pressure and was sacked three times.
The Tigers also gave up a costly fumble on the kickoff after Carter’s first touchdown. Jesse Case recovered the loose ball at the 17 for Carson.
Monfiletto praised the Tigers for their effort afterward.
“I told the kids that they’re a family … to walk tall and with pride,” the coach said. “They gave their best effort and I couldn’t be prouder of the young men they are.”