Simply put, Carson High’s offense never got going on Friday.
Unofficially, the Senators managed just 129 yards of total offense. Blame it on a plethora of penalties. Credit Damonte Ranch’s defense.
Either way, the Senators are still winless in Sierra League play after a 39-7 loss to league-leading Damonte Ranch at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Carson is 3-5 overall and 0-3 in league, and needs to beat Douglas on Nov. 3 to grab the fourth and final playoff spot.
“It is something that has plagued us the last three games,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “We are not playing good football at key points in the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot offensively. I felt we had a good game plan. We had five false starts. One of the delay penalties that we had was my fault because we didn’t get the audible in quick enough. We had a lot of stupid penalties. It’s very disappointing. Some of the credit has to go to Damonte.”
Damonte Ranch dominated the Carson offensive line, holding Abel Carter to just 69 yards. Twenty of those yards came on one play when Carter scored Carson’s only TD with 6:24 left in the contest.
“I thought our defense was phenomenal,” Damonte coach Shawn Dupris said. “I challenged them (Damonte defense) all week. They have an outstanding running back, and we respect him a lot. We wanted to get everybody to the ball.”
That swarm was led by Hunter Brooks and Richie Garcia. The duo, except for the TD run, kept the Senators’ ground game in check.
Carson was in Damonte territory on five of its seven drives, but either penalties or the Damonte defense got in the way.
The Senators, who yielded a TD on the opening drive of the game when Cade McNamara (359 yards) tossed a 5-yarder to Tai Allison, moved the ball to midfield only to see Carter thrown for losses on two consecutive carries on their only possession of the quarter.
After a defensive stop, the Senators were hit with back-to-back penalties, Jon Laplante was nearly intercepted on second down, and then was sacked on third down. Carson punted but Ty Evans recovered at the Damonte 46. Carson was hit with a holding penalty on first down and then a delay penalty on a third-and-1 snap that forced another punt.
Damonte drove 80 yards in 11 plays capped by a 10-yard fourth-down pass from McNamara to Allison to make it 13-0 42 seconds before halftime. The big play was a 43-yard strike to Jake Polson that gave the Mustangs a first down in Carson territory. Another key play was a 17-yard completion to Allison for a first down at the Carson 24.
Carson was able to keep the score close because it sacked McNamara three times, but the talented junior, who completed 24 of 28 attempts, often was able to buy time in the pocket and pick apart Carson’s defense.
“The game should have been 7-3 at the half,” Roman said. “We were able to run time off the clock which kept the score down.”
Carson moved the ball to midfield to start the second half, but the drive bogged down, and Pontus Johansson’s punt backed Damonte Ranch to its 17.
No matter. The Mustangs took more than six minutes off the clock in driving 83 yards for a score.
McNamara tossed a 24-yard pass to Dru Jacobs to make it 19-0 with 1:55 left in the third.
Carson failed to get a first down on the ensuing possession, and that’s when the game started to spiral out of control for Carson.
Brock Roscover took advantage of a missed blocking assignment and got a hand on Johansson’s punt, and he recovered it in the end zone to make it 25-0 just 10 seconds into the final quarter.
“That was a key play,” Dupris said. “Brock did a great job to get through there, and then recover the ball.”
Carson would give up two scores on the next three possessions.
“That (blocked punt) opened the floodgates,” Roman said.