Grizzlies upset Carson to advance to regional football finals |

Grizzlies upset Carson to advance to regional football finals

Darrel Moody, Tribune News Service

CARSON CITY – Carson High’s quest for the first 10-win football season in school history came up short, and the Senators’ outstanding season came to an unexpected end.

Galena scored on the third play of overtime, and then the Grizzlies stopped Carson five yards short of a potential game-winning score en route to a 14-7 victory Friday night in the NIAA 4A regional semifinals at Carson High.

The loss snapped Carson’s six-game winning streak and gave the Senators a 9-3 season, arguably one of the best in school history.

“The kids played their hearts out,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “Give Galena credit. They played a (heckuva) game. I said earlier this year that they had the most talent, and tonight they showed it. They are finally putting it together.”

After the teams slugged their way to a 7-all tie in regulation, Galena got the first opportunity to punch it in from the 10-yard line.

Quarterback Beau Bickel was thrown for a 1-yard loss by Justin Barlow and Luke Carter on the first play. On second down, Eric Howsley (38 carries, 158 yards) got the ball to the 9. On third down, Bickel drilled a pass to Garrett Shutt, who made a diving catch in the right corner of the end zone. Howsley added the extra point to make it 14-7.

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“It’s big to score first to put pressure on them,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “We’d been trying to get the ball to him (Shutt) all night. Beau put it in the right spot.”

Carson was called for running into the kicker on the extra point, forcing the Senators to start from the 15 instead of the 10.

Dylan Sawyers (17 carries, 84 yards) carried around the left side for nine yards down to the 6. A pair of 2-yard runs left Carson with a fourth-and-goal from the 2. Carson elected to run Sawyers wide left and he never was able to turn the corner, as Howsley tripped him up at the 5.

Carson players slumped to the ground in disbelief, while Galena players jumped for joy.

The Senators had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Ean Witter’s 38-yard field goal attempt was wide right as time expired.

The Senators had driven from their own 23 to Galena’s 20 on the strength of two Blake Plattsmier to Witter completions totaling 34 yards and a 12-yard pass from Plattsmier to Luke Carter. After a penalty on Carson and a 5-yard gain by Mark Sinnott to the Galena 20, Roman elected to let the clock run down to :04 before calling timeout and sending the field-goal team onto the field. Galena then called timeout in an attempt to freeze Witter.

Did Roman second-guess himself with regards to running down the clock?

“Yes and no,” Roman said. “Ean has kicked 50 and 55-yard field goals in practice,” Roman said. “I had complete confidence in him. He just got under it a little bit.”

Galena will play Reed in next week’s regional championship game. The Raiders downed defending state champion McQueen 28-21 on Friday in Sparks.