Jack Sula's season would have been impressive by any standard.

After all, the Carson senior running back rushed for 1,896 yards and 24 touchdowns while adding 288 receiving yards and three more touchdowns.

On defense, Sula was just as menacing with 108 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.

And to think he did it all with a broken left ring finger.

But he refused to use it as an excuse or even as an impediment, serving as the catalyst for Carson's Marine League title and its run to the L.A. City Section championship game.

"It's kind of ugly, and it's something I've got to get fixed to this day," said Sula, the runaway choice for the 2007 Daily Breeze Player of the Year. "But that's the one thing about me, I'm going to play. Our team was about sacrifice and faith. If I sacrificed, then I had faith my brothers would sacrifice for me.

"No matter if I was tired or hurt, I'd still play.

"That's how much the team meant to me."

Sula dislocated his finger in practice before the Week 3 game against Long Beach Poly, but said Coach Mike Christensen popped it back into place.

Then in Week 7 against San Pedro, Sula sustained his broken finger. But he was the sparkplug who helped Carson win 11 straight.

"It hurts sometimes," said Sula, who also sustained a concussion in the season opener against Golden, Colo., and a hyperextended knee in Week 10 against Banning.

"Not so much on offense tony.ciniglio@dailybreeze.combecause I had my hands on the ball, but when it got hit on defense, that's when the pain came. When I tackle someone, wrap them up or grab their jersey, there's pain, but pain's part of the game."

Christensen said he loved Sula's work ethic and determination and his willingness to do whatever it took to win and help the Colts to be successful.

"He's the best all-around football player I've coached," Christensen said. "There are a lot of great backs, but they don't go on defense and tackle the other team's best running back. It's truly a tribute to his desire. Good players make good coaches, and he made me a better coach."

And Sula made the Colts the best in the South Bay.

Sula helped Carson go unbeaten in the Marine League and advance to the City title game against powerhouse Birmingham, allowing him to fulfill a lifelong dream to play at the Coliseum.

"Man, it was a dream come true," said Sula, who said he has 11 different scholarship offers, most as a running back. "It was everything I'd thought it would be.

"Going through the tunnel, sitting there in the locker room, it was as big as I expected. On the field, looking at the stands, having every play being replayed on the big screen, it was an experience I'll never forget, and I especially won't forget losing the way we did either."

Maybe the most enduring image of Sula came in an overtime victory over San Pedro.

Sula had just scored a touchdown to put Carson up by six in overtime, and the Colts were attempting their extra-point. The snap was poor, and Sula, the holder, took the ball and calmly tossed it to a wide-open A.J. Ropati to complete the two-point conversion.

It was the difference in a game that helped Carson avenge two losses to San Pedro from the previous season. It also kept alive the Colts' bid for an unbeaten Marine League season.

"Man, that's on my highlight tape," Sula said. "Even looking back on it now, I don't know how we came through in that game. The team needed me, and that's what I had to do there.

"Beating San Pedro was probably my favorite moment.

"Last year, we lost twice to them, and we felt they shouldn't have beat us. Across the board, we had more talent, we were bigger up front, but they came to play, and it hurt. It put a hole in our hearts. It was one of the main things we worked for in the offseason."

Sula made some big hits all season, especially in the playoffs.

In the rematch with Banning in the quarterfinals, he laid out Banning running back Josh Limosnero on a screen play.

But his biggest hit came in the semifinal against Dorsey when he stopped UCLA-bound running back Johnathan Franklin on a third-down, goal-line play in the fourth quarter. On the next play, Chris Hill made an interception to preserve a 6-0 victory.

"Man, I was real excited," Sula said. "We had so many emotions on the field. We needed that stop. I looked into the eyes of my teammates and they were crying. We wanted to go to the Coliseum so much, and that stop won us the game."

Sula always credits his offensive line of MacKenzie Falo, Allen Frigillana, Trent Gagau, Matt Hunt and Pati Amisone. He also helped the team pull together after a rough 1-2 start, especially after a 38-6 pasting at the hands of Long Beach Poly, addressing the team and reassuring his teammates.

"I told them that one game is not going to determine where we end up the season," Sula said. "The next game would determine what kind of team we are, and we won that game against Harvard-Westlake.

"All our guys kept their focus and believed in what we can do."

Sula said he took great pride in playing for Carson.

"To wear that black and blue ... once you put it on, you've got to represent well," Sula said. "All the eyes are on you. The whole city, the alumni, Carson is probably the most consistent winning program in the Marine League. It's definitely a privilege to play for Carson."