CARSON (4-2, 0-1) AT GALENA (2-0)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Offense: The Grizzlies enter the game averaging 35.7 a game, fourth-best among Division I schools. Carson is ranked 10th in tht category. Returnees Connor Marks (724 yards) and Richard Harger (814) both went over the 100-yard mark last week. They are ranked fifth and fourth, respectively in Division I. Brock Raggio has thrown for 891 yards and nine scores, but has thrown seven interceptions in 119 attempts. Carson coach Blair Roman has opted to go with Matt Nolan at quarterback on a full-time basis though he did say Garrett Schafer will see action in situational opportunities. Colby Brown is No. 8 in rushing with 476 yards, while wingback Joey Thurman is averaging 20 yards per catch. Logan Krupp has returned from injury to give the Senators depth at wide receiver.
Defense: Carson is tied for fourth in defense, giving up 23 a game. Galena is a step above at 22.57, but the Grizzlies' schedule hasn't been as taxing because they have not played Reed yet, and nobody has shut down the Raiders. Krupp's return at defensive end should help the Senators. Carson has a couple of nagging injuries whch may limit how much certain players can play both ways. Galena controlled the ball on the ground last year against Carson, running off 72 plays from scrimmage. If that happens again, Carson will no doubt lose the game. Roman is impressed with Galena's DB Chaz Clark and DL Eric Anderson. Carson is a pus-2 in the takeaway/giveaway category, and that takeaay number needs to get better in teh last three weeks.
Special teams: I've yet to pick anybody over Carson in this category, and I'll continue to stick with the Senators. Casey Wolfe has had one bad kick-off all year, and unfortunately it resulted in a 94-yard TD return because Carson had a breakdown in its coverage. Wolfe is averaging nearly 40 yards a punt, and is averaging 57 yards a kick-off. He has 18 touchbacks in 27 kick-offs. Carson is dangerous on kick-off returns, averaging 26 yards an attempt.
Prediction: This is a crucial game for both teams. Galena could virtually lock up no worse than a first-place tie with a win, while Carson really can't afford to drop to 0-2 with games against improving Manogue and arch-rival Douglas left on the schedule. For Carson to win, its run defense must be top notch.
CARSON 31, GALENA 29