CARSON CITY – The Carson City-Crystal Eagles football team displayed a lot of heart and fight in a comeback that fell short and left them looking for its first win of the season.
The Portland St. Patrick Shamrocks returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and jumped out to a 21-0 lead in a 41-27 victory over the Eagles on Friday night at Community Field.
The Eagles started slowly and by the time Shamrocks senior David Simon scored late in the first quarter, a rout seemed inevitable.
“We came out a little slow at the beginning,” Eagles quarterback Logan Forist said. “We had to get back in there and play our hearts out. That’s what brought us back.”
The Eagles began their comeback with a 66-yard touchdown run by sophomore Robert Failing. It was a huge play on fourth down from their own 28-yard line.
“Good players make good plays,” Eagles coach Jason Gray said. “It was, obviously, a huge play. We didn’t block it very well. We tell the kids if you make a mistake, make it really fast and they did that on that play.”
Back-to-back turnovers by the Shamrocks gave the Eagles plenty of momentum midway through the second quarter.
Failing’s 42-yard run set up a touchdown run of 8 yards by Mitch Wesley to make the score 21-13 after a missed extra point. Wesley gained 14 yards on a fourth down play deep in the Eagles own zone to keep the drive alive.
The Eagles tied the game on their first possession of the second half. Tyler Fisher capped a six play drive with a 19-yard run. A two-point conversion made the score 21-21.
The Shamrocks responded with a nine play drive with a 21 yard catch by Cameron Bartlett from Collin Lay to make the score 28-21.
Lay made it 35-21 with a quarterback keeper with 9:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Wesley scored his second touchdown to pull the Eagles within one score just four minutes later. A missed extra point made the score 35-27.
“The team pulled together. We came out a little soft,” Wesley said. “They made a couple of plays to get us at the end. That’s what hurts the most. We get so close and it comes down to the end.”
The Shamrocks sealed the win with a 23-yard touchdown catch on fourth down by tight end John Pline, a converted lineman.
Despite the loss, Gray was proud of his team fighting to the very end.
“It’s frustrating. We want more for our kids. We are 0-4 right now, but could easily be 3-1,” Gray said. “We just didn’t make enough plays at the end. I would take our guys over any other group of kids in this league. Our kids have so much heart and come to practice prepared everyday.”
The Eagles outgained the Shamrocks 340-296 overall. The Eagles defense forced two turnovers.
Failing rushed for 117 yards. Fisher had 96 yards on the ground and Wesley finished with 86 yards. Brann Schmitt had one catch for 25 yards.
Lay was 6-for-19 passing with 102 yards, three touchdowns and on interception.
Carson City-Crystal (0-4, 0-4) travels to Dansville next week.