Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – Carleton built up a big lead, and then held off a furious comeback effort from McMaster in the first round of the playoffs with a 30-25 win on Saturday.
The visiting Marauders got off to a quick start with a field goal and a forced safety to go up 5-1, but the Ravens were able to sort their offense out near the end of the opening quarter. After a bruising sack by OUA sacks leader Kenny Onyeka forced a punt, Carleton would take an 8-5 lead on the ensuing drive thanks to a one yard scramble by running back Nathan Carter.
Onyeka was in the backfield again before the quarter was out for his 2nd sack of the quarter. This led to Mike Domagala’s first field goal of the day to put Carleton up by 6. On their next possession, Carter again found himself one yard from the end zone, and again made no mistake pounding the ball in to extend Carleton’s lead to 18-5. Domagala added another field goal before the half to give the Ravens a 21-5 edge headed into the break.
Nathan Carter’s dominance continued after halftime, this time busting free for a 27 yard touchdown rush halfway through the 3rd to boost the Ravens lead to 30-5.
Three touchdowns in a row for the Marauders had cut the Carleton lead to 30-25, and after another 4th quarter two and out, the Ravens were forced to punt the ball away with 2 minutes left. McMaster would drive the ball into Carleton territory, but a final heave towards the end zone sailed over the heads of the Marauders receivers to end the threat. Carter then knocked off a final 19 yard run to seal the win for the Ravens.
Carter finished the game with 172 yards rushing and all 3 of the Ravens touchdowns on the day. He explained what led to his success after the game. “There were a lot of holes here and there. I had to make some of my own, but all in all me and the line just gelled really well today and things opened up.”
Head coach Steve Sumarah was clear in stressing how crucial Carter’s contributions were on the day. “When you’re in a playoff game you need to be able to run the ball,” said Sumarah. “Nathan just pounded the rock for us all day. Your best players have to be the best players in these games.”
With the game on the line late, linebacker Trevor Hoyte said the coaches knew what to say to settle the group down and close things out with a final defensive stand.
“Forget everything, we just need a stop right here,” Hoyte said of the message on the sidelines. “Focus on the moment and that’s what we did.”
Ravens Player of the Game: Nathan Carter – Running Back – 3rd Year
Carleton @ Western
Saturday, November 3 – 1 PM
TD Stadium – London, ON