Carson struggles, falls to Concord
By David Shaw
CHINA GROVE — Carson’s football season hasn’t come to a complete stop, but the Cougars spent another Friday night tapping the brakes.
Their 35-8 SPC loss to visiting Concord was their fourth straight — and likely puts them outside the post-season swirl of excitement.
“We’ve got three (remaining) games,” coach Joe Pinyan said after Carson (3-5, 2-4) anchored itself in the bottom half of the league standings. “Three games, not that they’re just winnable, but three that we have to win. If we want to sneak into the playoffs, we’ve got to win them all.”
They’ll have to offer more resistance than they did against Concord (6-2, 5-1). The Spiders’ defense forced three turnovers and limited Carson to 102 total yards. Their offense amassed 366, paced by senior quarterback Jacob Irby — who passed for 247 yards and four touchdowns.
“Jacob is getting better and better at learning what we want him to do,” said winning coach Glen Padgett. “We’ve always asked a lot of our quarterbacks, and he’s doing a good job in the pocket reading the defense.”
He read Carson’s like an eye chart, firing TD’s to four different receivers.
“To be honest,” senior spur Luis Cipres said, “we didn’t do a good job wrapping their receivers up. We didn’t drive through. Little things like that kept getting us.”
A week after unexpectedly falling to South Rowan, Carson arrived with attitude and swagger and jumped to an 8-0 first-quarter lead. The score came on a short-field drive that followed a shanked punt by senior Jalen Martin. Quarterback Owen White steered the Cougars 36 yards in eight plays — capped when wideout Andrew Jerman snagged a 26-yard touchdown pass across the middle.
“We came out as a unit and executed some plays,” White said after completing only two of 11 attempts. “But after that it was just one mistake after another. It’s very disappointing.”
It was, especially after Carson drove to the Concord 33-yard line on its next possession, only to be stonewalled on a mishandled, fourth-and-inches play as the second quarter unfolded. “If we had gotten that one and gone down and scored, it might have been 14-0 or 16-0,” Pinyan lamented. “It would have been a different story for them. They would have had to work a little harder.”
Instead, Concord made it look easy. The Spiders reached the end zone on three consecutive possessions in second period and took a 21-8 halftime lead when Irby snapped off a 6-yard TD pass to Ikym Hall.
“Even then, we thought we were in good shape,” Pinyan said.
Those thoughts were dispelled when Concord took the second-half kickoff, drove over the midfield stripe and scored when Irby spiraled a picturesque, 42-yard TD pass to Antonio Campbell. “They looked like Concord on that drive,” said Pinyan.
Midway through the third quarter Carson lost a fumble and the guests drove for their final touchdown — giving them five scoring possessions in a row.
When it ended, Pinyan was asked what disappointed him most.
“We played with more intensity and more heart tonight than we have the last three weeks,” he answered. “Had we played those games like tonight — without the fumbles — we probably would not have lost three or four in a row. I think our kids realized that. We moved the ball against a good team and we scored on them early. If we had just kept going through that process, we would have been OK. The scoreboard doesn’t show it, but there are some things we can build on tonight.”
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