The Carson High football team has something it hasn’t had for the last couple of weeks. Hope.
Carson showed much improvement in a 35-14 loss against Spanish Springs on Friday at home in an effort that showed the Senators should be a much more competitive football team as Sierra League play approaches for the rest of the season.
“We played better,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “Just the effort was better. The team had a lot of energy tonight. They played really hard.
“They just wanted to come out and compete. We competed with them pretty well.”
It didn’t look good to begin as the game had a “here we go again” feel to it when the Cougars (3-3) scored on a 69-yard pass from Tristan Szabo to Colton Melton on the game’s third play to take a 7-0 lead.
But for whatever reason, Spanish Springs tried an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and Jesse Tschetter recovered for Carson (1-4) at the CHS 47-yard line.
Two bubble screens from Johnny LaPlante to Chance Smith of 21 and 14 yards set up Smith’s 4-yard touchdown run. Jackson Kalicki added the extra point to tie the score 7-7.
But then came the most important part of the game in which CHS really missed its chance at an upset when it had three chances to take advantage of good field position. Jeremy Heaton came up with the first of his two interceptions on a pass deflected by Ben Granados to give Carson the ball at the Cougar 48.
The Senators couldn’t take advantage, though, but LaPlante’s quick 43-yard punt pinned Spanish Springs at its 4.
But the Cougars mounted a 96-yard drive, concluding with Colby Preston’s 2-yard scoring run to take a 14-7 lead.
Carson couldn’t take advantage of good field position again, leading to LaPlante’s 40-yard punt down to the Spanish Springs 9.
Heaton later intercepted his second pass to give CHS the ball at midfield but again the Senators couldn’t take advantage, leading to another LaPlante punt that pinned the Cougars at their 8.
“I think that was the difference of the game,” Roman said.
Carson had a drive going before halftime and it appeared Smith kept the drive alive on fourth-and-1 when he stretched the ball across the Cougar 40 for an apparent first down. One line judge ruled Smith got the first down but the other line judge ruled Smith was short.
After the officials discussed the play they ruled Smith was short and it appeared Spanish Springs would take advantage right before halftime.
But JoJo Acosta sacked Szabo for a 14-yard loss to squelch the drive and the Senators went into the halftime locker room feeling good about themselves, trailing just 14-7 at halftime.
Spanish Springs gradually pulled away in the second half, building its lead to 35-7 late in the game.
But the Senators still had some fight left as Jesse Sapien began a drive with a 20-yard run. Blake Menzel then completed a 39-yard pass to Will Breeding. On the next play, Bradley Maffei scored on an 11-yard run for the final margin.
Maffei led Carson with 65 yards on 12 carries.