The most important play of the game for H.D. Woodson running back Jai Carson came just three plays in Saturday against Wilson. Carson was already carving up the Tigers defense. But on one particular cutback, he got complacent, and a Wilson defender came from behind and popped the ball out.
“I was mad about my fumble,” Carson said.
The fumble changed the possession momentarily, but it didn’t change much else for Carson. He started making adjustments from there. When Wilson’s line would stop him for a short gain, he would help his own line make the adjustment. And when he had daylight, he put his “foot in the ground and ran downhill.”
Carson finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-18 win, marking his third consecutive breakout performance. He had over 100 yards rushing in two quarters of play against Coolidge last week before the game was called at halftime due to weather, and in a shutout win over Ballou the week before, he ran 15 times for 129 yards.
Against Wilson, the 6-foot, 185-pound back was at his most durable. He carried the ball 26 times. He caught three passes. And he provided all the kicking duties for the Warriors (4-3, 3-0), who now sit atop the DCIAA Stars division heading into next weekend’s rivalry matchup against Dunbar.
His most signature moment was in the third quarter, when he took a handoff to the left and made several moves in the open field for a 31-yard touchdown to push the lead to two scores. It was the product of calling a meeting with his offensive linemen in the locker room, he said, and the group had noticed that Wilson was double teaming Woodson’s guards. On this particular play, it happened again — and instead of turning up inside to a wall of defensive linemen, Carson kept to the outside.
“I knew my team needed me, so I just let mistakes be in the past,” Carson said. “This was an important game for us.”
Carson, who has rushed for 652 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games, is trying to earn college interest at the moment. He’s interested in Toledo, he said, because of the school’s strong ties to recruiting in the District. But gaining exposure only comes with performances like Saturday, he said, and H.D. Woodson’s offense will allow him to continue to be a consistent featured back.
“I love my line,” Carson said. “When the running game is good, the team looks better and we are more successful.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 17
The number of catches for Loudoun County receiver Michael Rexrode in a 31-28 win over Woodgrove. Rexrode amassed 212 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
— Bethesda Chevy-Chase’s Nora McCumber and Poolesville’s Chase Weaverling continued their dominance Saturday at the Montgomery County Cross-Country Championships.
— With a nice performance from a quiet star, No. 12 Gwynn Park took down Surrattsville Saturday in a battle of unbeatens.
— Here’s a complete list of the top rushers, passers and receivers from Friday night football around the area.
–In a game filled with talented running backs, junior Cameron Vaughn rose to the occasion to lead Flint Hill to a win over MAC rival Potomac School.
PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND
FIRST AND 17: Episode 8 – Turning the corner
WHAT TO WATCH
Volleyball: Loudoun Valley at No. 1 Loudoun County, 6:45 p.m.