"I knew I had a job to do," said Carney, a junior who pinned Dillon Prendergast with just 14 seconds remaining in the bout.
"He's Mr. February," Delsea coach Greg Sawyer said of Carney's ability to come through for his team late in the regular season.
The victory also was the 200th in Sawyer's career.
"It's a good venue to get it in," said Sawyer, who's is in his 11th season as head coach at his alma mater.
Senior 132-pounder John Pierson and senior 138-pounder Anthony DeMarco added second-period pins for Delsea (24-5), which won its fourth sectional title in a row.
Senior 220-pounder Bryan Dobzanski also won by pin for the Crusaders, who will advance to the state semifinals Sunday at Pine Belt Arena on the campus of Toms River North.
Dobzanski, who earned the 220-pound state title and went 42-0 last season, won his 78th bout in a row. He is 32-0 this season.
Delsea held an 8-6 edge in bouts but built a big edge in bonus points thanks to four pins as well as major decisions by junior Vic DeFrance at 182 and freshman Brad Dobzanski, Bryan's brother, at 145.
"We got outwrestled," Highland coach Mike Davidson said. "You can't win a match when you get pinned. We came out flat, and we didn't wrestle to our ability."
Highland received a big lift early in the match as sophomore Zach Shafer pinned Greg Halikman at 285.
Seth Henry (106) and Lucas Siegfried (113) followed with decisions to pull Highland even at 19 after six bouts.
But Carney's pin started a run that featured five wins in six bouts, including three falls, a major decision, and sophomore Dom DeMarco's 2-1 decision over Sheldon Morris in a featured matchup at 152 pounds.
DeMarco's win made it 38-17 and sealed the sectional championship for a Delsea team that appeared to be in a rebuilding mode at the start of the season.
"I said at the beginning of the year that I liked these kids," Sawyer said. "That usually means they do the right things.
"They got better. They got tougher. As a coach, that's nice to see."
DELSEA 38, HIGHLAND 26
182: Vic DeFrance, D, d. Jon Villegas, 14-5; 195: Joe Fabrizio, D, dec. George Duddy, 4-3; 220: Bryan Dobzanski, D, pin Mark Gillis, 1:30; 285: Zach Shafer, H, pin Greg Halikman, 3:51; 106: Seth Henry, H, dec. Nick Gaetano, 14-6; 113: Lucas Seigfried, H, dec. John Hassett, 4-3; 120: Tom Carney D, pin Dillon Prendergast, 5:46; 126: Josh Clark, H, dec. Kevin Huck, 13-2; 132: John Pierson, D, pin Mikal Jenkins, 3:00; 138: Anthony DeMarco, D, pin Nick Wade, 3:09; 145: Brad Dobzanski D, dec. Zach McCafferty, 8-0; 152: Dom DeMarco, D, dec. Sheldon Morris, 2-1; 160: Tom Nolan, H, pin Justin Moore, 2:17; 170: Jordan Warren H, dec. Vince DeGeorge, 5-0.