Lindenhurst's Chris Carson (1) runs in a touchdown in the...

Lindenhurst's Chris Carson (1) runs in a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the Suffolk High School Division II football game between West Islip and Lindenhurst on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022 at West Islip High School. Credit: Bob Sorensen

 All-purpose wide receiver Chris Carson doesn’t look at himself as the type of player likely to break a touchdown run nearly the length of the field. But he even surprised himself a little bit Saturday.

After taking a direct snap, Carson broke a few tackles at the line of scrimmage, cut through the middle of the field and sprinted down the left sideline for an 86-yard touchdown run to break a tie at 7 as Lindenhurst defeated host West Islip, 13-7, in Suffolk Division II football Saturday afternoon.

“I didn’t think I was going to break one, I figured it would be a big gain, but not a touchdown,” said Carson, who credited his receivers for their strong blocking downfield. “Honestly, I don’t think I’m the fastest in the world. I just rush for yards and power my way through.”

Carson, who scored the winning touchdown with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter, finished with 120 yards on just six carries. He also added a 1-yard touchdown pass, leaving coach Nick Lombardo to admit the coaching staff needs to give Carson more chances to change a game.

“That’s really on us a little bit,” Lombardo said. “We need to get the ball in his hands more. In my opinion, he’s a top player in the county, on Long Island and he needs to touch the ball more than he is right now. When he does touch it, you see what he can do. And that’s on us.”

West Islip (3-2) struck on its opening drive when Sal Calderone rushed in a 2-yard score to cap off a 13-play, 68-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead with 4:22 left in the first quarter. But the Lindenhurst defense settled in from there.

“We had to dig down deep,” said defensive back Brady Dolan, who had a pivotal interception at the 1-yard line to keep the score tied at 7 in the third quarter. “We knew we could stop them and that’s what we did.”

Lindenhurst struggled to move the ball the majority of the first half, but the Bulldogs put together a pivotal drive to close the second quarter. Christian Capogna found Evan Chieca for a 12-yard play action pass on fourth-and-2 from the West Islip 20-yard line in the final minute of the half. The Bulldogs later faced a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line after being stuffed on back-to-back runs and Lombardo called upon Carson. The senior found Chieca on a pop pass in the end zone to tie the score at 7 entering halftime.

“I came out of the huddle and said, ‘Don’t mess this up. Just don’t mess this up,’” Carson said. “I saw a guy coming right in and I said, ‘I have to get rid of this,’ so I just threw it up and knew I had a big receiver. I told him I was going to throw it high and he made a play.”

“I knew it was my time to shine,” Chieca said. “I knew I had to make a big play.”

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