Prep Football: Carson 36, West Iredell 28
STATESVILLE - Was it any surprise that with the outcome in doubt, Carson coach Mark Woody turned to running back Brandon Sloop?
Of course not.
With the Cougars clinging to a tedious 29-28 lead after West Iredell scored with 8:33 left, Carson took less than three minutes to put it away. A drive culminated with Sloop's 21-yard scamper and the Cougars won 36-28.
It was the second straight North Piedmont Conference win for Carson (3-6, 2-2) and vaulted it past South Rowan into a tie for third place.
West Iredell's 28 points was the most in a game by the team all year. But Carson's defense held on a two-point conversion, protecting the lead and also made the big plays down the stretch.
The game was close throughout, and really wasn't decided until late in the fourth quarter.
Josh Lamberth's 1-yard touchdown run set up on the previous play by Preston Harrison's 42-yard pass to Lamberth, narrowed Carson's lead to one.
But that's when Sloop finished off the Warriors with his score with 5:45 left.
Carson's secondary came through on West's last-gasp drive, forcing incompletions on third and fourth down. Several Sloop runs ran out the clock.
Sloop was Carson's yardage leader, with 197 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
Austin McNeill had one of his best percentage games of the year, completing 7 of 9 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Carson's largest lead of the night was 15 points after Tommy Dang's touchdown run and a two-point conversion with 6:27 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors (1-7, 0-4 NPC) trimmed that lead on their next two drives. The first of those drives was six plays from scrimmage, capped by Clayton Reid's touchdown catch despite good coverage by a Cougar defender.
On the second of those, with West facing 4th and 11 on the Cougars' 43-yard line, Lamberth collected the 43-yard catch that set up his run for a score on the next play.
But Woody knew what to do from that point.
Give it to Sloop.
Carson plays host to West Rowan next week.