In a momentous victory for the Carson football team, their first win on home turf in four years was met with jubilation. The Colts emerged triumphant with a score of 27-7 against Narbonne in their Marine League opener on Thursday night. A lingering celebration took place on the field as they relished the occasion of inaugurating their newly renovated stadium just as they had imagined. Senior running back Jerry Misaalefua, who scored two crucial touchdowns in the second half, wore the widest grin of all.
Expressing his delight, Misaalefua shared, "Ever since I got here, this is what I wanted to feel like... my brother [Jack Sula] and my older cousin played here and told me what it’s like, but I never got to experience it before. We finally got a true home game. There was a lot of pressure for us to win after all the hype, but I like it."
Narbonne (3-4) entered the game having narrowly lost three games by a total of seven points. They managed to level the playing field at 7-7 in the second quarter with a 25-yard pass from Deshawn Laporte to Allen Blaylock. However, Carson's Lincoln Iakopo had already scored the first touchdown of the game with a two-yard quarterback sneak in the closing minutes of the first quarter, capping off an impressive 77-yard drive consisting of 11 plays.
Last season, the 10th-seeded Gauchos caused an upset, defeating No. 2 Carson with a score of 34-32 in the Division I quarterfinals. However, they were eliminated in the semifinals after a 45-36 loss to No. 3 Palisades.
Misaalefua highlighted the intensity of the game, stating, "We knew this was going to be a grind-it-out type of game — our coaches preached that all week. This is the toughest league in the City — there are no easy games."
The momentum shifted in Carson's favor at the start of the second half with Misaalefua's long kickoff return, placing the Colts in a promising position at the Narbonne 25-yard line. Five plays later, Brendan Fautua Leomiti scored on a three-yard run, granting Carson the lead for good with 9 minutes and 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Kameryn Hurst also made significant contributions with 80 yards gained from 11 carries.
This marked the first home game for Carson on their campus since a 13-7 loss to San Pedro on November 7, 2019. Previously, they had been traveling for all their games, playing their home matches at Harbor College last year and all six previous games this year on the road. A total of 29 consecutive games were played off campus.
Misaalefua expressed his satisfaction with finally being able to play at home, saying, "It definitely feels great to be home."
Carson's last City title victory took place in 2003. Only Manual Arts (17 titles) and Banning (12 titles) have won more. Coach Mike Christensen, who was hired for a second stint with the team in 2021, reflected on the journey, reminiscing about the initial team meeting with only eight players. In the following years, the Colts posted records of 3-5 and 6-6. Christensen jokingly noted, "I finally have a senior class."
This story originally appeared in [source].