After a promising start to the 2011 season, the Dinos now find themselves mired in a losing streak almost as long as their winning streak after falling to Payson 23-14 on Friday night.
With just two games left, both at Carbon's homefield, there is little room for error for the Dinos. Sluggish second halfs in games, turnovers, penalties and other miscues must be eliminated.
However a strong finish to the end of the season in region games against Juab and Spanish Fork could take Carbon to the promised land of the state playoffs.
Cue the iconic music from musician Bill Conti in the Rocky movies.
Carbon, currently sitting in last place in Region 10, has their back to the wall and the only way out is to fight to the final whistle much as Sylvester Stallone did while portraying the tough and always up for a fight neighborhood regular guy Rocky Balboa.
To succeed, Carbon 4-3 overall and 0-3 in Region 10, will need to withstand a barrage of punches from battled tested teams of Juab and Spanish Fork. When they get knocked down, the Dinos must quickly get up and work harder on the next play.
Friday's game against Payson was similiar to other games this season. The Dinos jumped out to a 14-3 lead at halftime, thanks to a 4-yard rushing touchdown by running back Daulton Nelson and a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown by Dillon Manzanares.
But after a strong drive to start the third quarter, Carbon's momentum stalled, according to head coach Jeff Blanc.
Payson pounced on the Dinos mistakes and quickly turned a 14-3 deficit into a 23-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
"We played a great first half and had a great start to the third quarter," Blanc said.
The offense ran the ball much better gaining 138 yards rushing led by Nelson and Manzanares, who played running back for the first time this season.
Tanner Gagnon led the Dinos in reception yards as he had one reception for 63 yards.
Manzanares and Nelson also played well defensively, combining for 16 tackles and two sacks on the night.
Blanc said the team knows full well what they need to do in their final two games. Carbon will play two games in a span of nine days, which will test the Dinos' will to succeed.
"We just have to buckle down, practice hard and play well," he explained.
"If we lose on Friday, there will be no playoffs for us."