RENO - When the final whistle sounded Thursday night, the reaction of Carson High's players differed.
Some dropped to their knees in disbelief, some remained motionless and others walked off the field angrily, tears in their eyes. It was hard to accept that their season, which included a Sierra League championship, was over much too soon.
Galena's Nolan Cobin's goal from 35 yards out in the 32nd minute stood up as the Grizzlies upset the Senators, 1-0, in the 4A regional semifinals at Damonte Ranch High School.
So, instead of having a chance to chase down a state title next week, Carson players will have to be content to savor a league title and a 12-3-3 record.
"We had a good year," said senior Jason Martinez. "I love this club and I love this coaching staff. I'm proud of everybody. It just wasn't our day. They were a little luckier than we were."
"We left it all on the field," Carson coach Eric Masters said. "I feel bad for the seniors. They worked very hard the last couple of years. We were all over them the second half. We had a lot of chances."
Especially in the final 13 minutes. Twice Sam Hutchinson got behind the Galena defense, but he was unable to convert either time.
In the 67th minute, he was wide right. In the 78th minute he had a good look and tried to beat Galena's Alan Solanis on the short side to no avail. The second attempt was the better of the two opportunities. It appeared that two of Hutchinson's teammates were coming in for a possible pass, a fact that Masters verified after the game.
"I don't know what Sam saw," Masters said. "I don't whether he saw little Cris (Cristian Hernandez) or Evan (Sanchez) coming across. He did what he thought was the best at that moment."
Carson outshot Galena 9-6.
Carson's Hernandez pounded one over the crossbar in the eighth minute, and 24 minutes later, Cobin kicked a high ball that hit the crossbar and then dropped straight down over the goalline.
"It just curved over me," said Carson goalie Marco Magallon, who finished with three saves.
"It was a good goal, but I think it was a little lucky, too," Masters said. "He hit it good and it probably had a little spin on it."
A minute after Cobin's goal, Sanchez booted one off the crossbar.
Galena's Ian Smith bombed one over the crossbar in the 48th minute, and 11 minutes later, there was a loose ball in front of Magallon that Galena's Brandon Welch was unable to get a foot on.
That set the stage for a wild finish, as Carson kept the pressure on only to see Galena survive.
"There were opportunities we should have made," Martinez said. "We wanted it, but they wanted it a little more."
Galena will play Hug a 1-0 winner over Wooster on penalty kicks in Saturday's final.