If Nolan Shine was nervous about his first varsity football start, he didn’t show it.
Shine, who missed spring ball because of a knee injury, finished with a team-leading 13 tackles and was the defense’s brightest light in the Carson Senators’ 23-13 season-opening win over Hug last Saturday in Lovelock.
“I made a few mistakes to start the game, but coach (Shane) Quilling corrected me,” said Shine as he prepared for this week’s game against Reno. “The pace of the game is a lot faster. I wasn’t surprised by the pace, I just got more winded than in the past. I feel like I had a good game. I know I can do better.
“They grade us on every play; from 0-to-3. I graded out at 52 percent. They want me to be at 60. That would have been a great game.”
If Shine continues to play at that level, coach Blair Roman will rest easy at night.
“Nolan had a really good game,” Roman said. “He had a couple of breakdowns, but that was it. It was a good start.”
Shine, who started at quarterback and linebacker on the JV squad a year ago, will undoubtedly spend nearly all of his time on the defensive side of the ball. He likes that, and he likes his new position. He is what Roman considers a hybrid, a cross between a safety and linebacker. Chance Quilling and Connor Beattie played the position in previous years. Formations, match-ups and down and distance situations dictate where Shine lines up. The more a team runs, the more you will seen him in the box. Against a spread team like North Valleys, he’ll be more of a defensive back.
“It (playing only defense) helps me a lot,” Shine said. “I’ve always considered myself a defensive player.
“I like it (the new position) a lot. My entire life I’ve been a middle linebacker. I like the position because it allows me more freedom, I can roam around and make plays. It fits me better.”
“(Defensive coordinator Bob) Bateman and I saw that right away last year,” Roman said. “You have to have somebody out there who is not only physical but plays well in space; out in the flat, and has the ability to play safety, too. He reminds me a lot of Connor Beattie. Against a team that likes to run the ball, Nolan is going to be close to the line of scrimmage.”
He’ll enjoy his time on defense this year. What’s ahead is anybody’s guess. He’ll certainly be a candidate to start at quarterback as a senior, and if that happens, he may only play offense. But that’s a year away, so Carson fans will get used to No. 15 racking up tackle after tackle.
Shine is the third of three brothers to compete at Carson, following in the footsteps of his older brothers, Nick and Justin. Nick Shine, a football and wrestling star at CHS, played one season for the Wolf Pack, and is now a firefighter in Las Vegas. Justin, who also played football and wrestled, coached wrestling briefly at Douglas High School. Shine’s older sister, Elayna, played three years of varsity basketball at Carson. Sports definitely runs in this family.
“My brothers have always been my biggest competition,” Shine said. “I do feel the pressure. I have to live up to big expectations. It pushes me to be better. I talk to Nick after every game and every practice. He’s going to come to see the North Valleys and McQueen games. I’m looking forward to that.”
Nick and Justin had bigger, bulkier builds. Nolan is more on the slender side, but make no mistake about it, he can put a hit on ball carriers, and he’s as tough as there is.
“Nolan is a different type of athlete than Nick,” Roman said. “He’s not as big and strong. Nick was so physical. The one thing I see in all of them is the instinct to make plays. All three are such tough kids.”