ANGOLA – Lamar Carswell ran for 53 yards and added 74 receiving for the Trine football team Thursday night. But it was a yard he didn't initially get that may have been the most important in a 35-12 season-opening victory over Manchester.
With Trine up 14-6 but coughing up momentum to Manchester, Carswell was headed into the end zone when he fumbled the ball into the hands of Manchester's De'Lon Barnes. As the Spartans' fans celebrated, the officials discussed the play for a few minutes, determined Carswell's knee had been down at the 1-yard line and reversed their call.
On the next play, Carswell barreled his way into the end zone with 11:07 remaining in the second quarter as the Thunder improved its all-time record against Manchester to 10-2.
“I thought I scored and I was getting ready to celebrate and then (the official) said it was a fumble and I was just really hurt. That was one of my goals for the day, to just not put the ball on the ground so my world came crashing down,” Carswell said. “Luckily, the tale was turned in our favor.”
Trine also got a strong rushing game from Mark Wilson – 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries – excelled on special teams by scoring a touchdown and held the Spartans' Dakota Nelson in check.
“Special teams and containing him (Nelson) really made a huge difference in determining the outcome of the game,” Trine coach Troy Abbs said.
After stopping Manchester on its first possession, Trine's Marcus Winters returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown.
Later, Trine quarterback Evan Wyse skirted a diving tackler, ducked underneath a leaping one and connected with Jeffery Barnett for an 11-yard score for a 14-0 lead with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter. Wyse completed 9 of 15 passes for 133 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Spartans – 2-8 last season in Nate Jensen's first year as coach – got creative to cut into the lead on the first play of the second quarter. Quarterback Alex Downard pitched the ball to Nelson, who threw to Bailey Partington for a 37-yard touchdown, although the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Nelson also responded to Carswell's 1-yard touchdown run by reeling in an arcing 3-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
Downard completed 13 of 25 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Donovan Henderson rushed 16 times for 38 yards for Manchester. Nelson had six catches for 18 yards and a touchdown and Partington had four catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.