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'The Sweetest Victory'

Dinos linebacker Dillon Manzanares (52) rushes in to take down Cougar Hunter Hullinger during Friday's game. Manzanares finished the game with 13 tackles and one sack.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

Carbon overcomes fourth quarter deficit to defeat Union 17-13, now 4 - 0 on the season

A 4-0 start for the Carbon High School football squad is so rare it has not happened in over half a century.

But with an exciting 17-13 win over Union this on Friday night that is exactly where the Dinos sit.

Coach Jeff Blanc is still revved up with the comeback performance of his squad against a scrappy Union team.

"We played another great game. It was good that we got down and were able to come back and win. Union is a good team and they fought us hard the entire night," he said.

Carbon came out and drew first blood with a 25-yard field goal from Tanner Gagnon to make it 3-0. But Union was able to take the lead in the first quarter with a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Union's Mitch Hall.

In the second quarter the Dinos scored once again to regain the lead 10-7 as quarterback Dakota Cisneros connected with wide receiver Nick Haycock for an 11-yard TD pass. Haycock made an amazing effort to come down with the ball and his efforts energized an already excited crowd. Gagnon kept his streak alive with another point after.

The Cougars came out of the half and put together a drive down field. It took them about five minutes and they scored on a 5-yard run by running back JJ Morley to put themselves back in the lead 13-10. On the point after attempt, the Dinos denied Union the point after by blocking the kick, keeping the deficit at three points.

Several Carbon drives stalled well into the fourth quarter. The Dino defense continued to do their job and Union began to self destruct on their offense with penalties and miscues.

With time running down in the game Carbon had few chances left. Coach Jeff Blanc said he heard one of his players yell out, "We're not going to lose!"

They headed out on the field and put on a drive that showed they meant exactly that. Getting themselves into the red zone, Cisneros handed off to running back Daulton Nelson who capped off the drive with an eight-yard rush for touchdown. Gagnon added the extra point putting Carbon up by four, requiring Union to score a touchdown to win the game.

Dino cornerback Garrett Hunt came up with his second huge interception of Union as they tried to run a hurry up offense to get down field. Carbon ticked enough off the clock before they gave the ball back to Union with too little time left.

Gagnon played a huge role in the game with eight tackles and two sacks to go with his field goal and two point afters. Carbon's Dillon Manzanares was a defensive force as a defensive lineman as he disrupted to Cougar offense all night. He ended with 13 tackles and a sack.

Dustin Norried and Haycock came up with some key receptions in the final drive to set up the TD for Nelson. Haycock continued his big year with seven receptions for 118 yards. He remains third in receptions for 3A with 26 catches for 408 yards. Nelson finished with 18 carries for 85 rushing yards, including the go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes.

"This is the sweetest victory we've had all year," Blanc said in a post game interview.

Coach Blanc wants to make sure that the community knows that their support for the team has been super. He noted that the visitor stands were packed with Carbon supporters in Roosevelt Friday night. The winning attitude is also blowing into the school and everyone is feeling the affects of the turn around to the football program.

A much needed bye week is in store for Carbon this week. Region action will begin on Sept. 23 with a home game against Delta with kickoff at 7 p.m. Delta was the 3A runner up last season and Blanc said they have a consistently good program year in and year out. It will be a real test for the winning streak. But Blanc feels like if they can get a win against the Rabbits it will set the tone for the rest of region play.

Emery is set to face American Leadership Academy on Friday and since ALA does not have a sophomore program the Spartan sophomores will come up to play the Dino sophomores in Price on Thursday night. Game time is a 5 p.m. and the public is encouraged to come out and root for the home town boys.

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