Last week Wooster crashed Hug's homecoming party by beating the Hawks 14-7 and Hug will look to try and do the same to Carson tonight at 7 when the two teams kick off in a pivotal Sierra League game.
With a win against the Senators, Hug (5-2, 2-1) will assure themselves a spot in the 4A playoffs. But if Carson (4-3, 1-2) wins, they could also clinch a spot in the playoffs. But for that to happen, a few things must go the Senators way this weekend.
If Carson beats Hug and Reno loses to South Tahoe and Douglas loses to Wooster on Saturday, then the Senators are in. But Carson's focus should be on Hug because the playoffs aren't for another three weeks away.
Against Wooster, the Hawks only managed to gain only 29 yards rushing. But this was the same Colt defense that held Carson's potent ground attack to 69 yards rushing. In Hug's past four games, Antoine Barlow has rushed for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. Barkari Taylor has also rushed for three touchdowns. So despite struggling against Wooster, Carson should expect a more productive running game out of Hug.
But last week against South Tahoe, the Senator defense held the Vikings Jake Hurwitz to only seven yards rushing in the first half. Hurwitz, who came into the with Carson as Northern Nevada's leading rusher, finished with 95 yards. Earlier this season, the Senator defense shut down Galena's Damian Rivadeneyra, so they've proven themselves against the area's top running backs. So they should be able to contain Barlow and Taylor.
Without question, the Hawks are a passing team, led by senior quarterback Marco Bisio. Bisio has followed a long line of great quarterbacks at Hug, including Bryan Tilton and Bart Hendricks, who's now the starting quarterback at Boise State University. Bisio's thrown for 824 yards and five touchdowns this season and has also rushed for three touchdowns. To stop the Hawks, Carson must first stop Bisio.
The Senators Doug Brooks has now become a multi-talented player in Carson's Wing-T offense. He leads the team with 699 yards rushing but has also become a passing threat in the past three games. Against Wooster, Brooks caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marques Giron. Then the following week, he caught three passes for 47 yards against Reno. But his best receiving game of the season was last week against South Tahoe, when he caught four passes for 94 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass from Giron.
The other half of Carson two-pronged running attack is Josh Carter, who rushed for 68 yards against South Tahoe and was held scoreless for only the second time this season. Carter has rushed for 615 yards this season and both Carter and Brooks have eight rushing touchdowns.
Since their loss to the Vikings, Carson coach Bob Bateman and his players have said that they'll be in the playoffs. After missing them in 1999 when the Senators finished with a 1-5 league record, a win over Hug could do it. But a loss to the Hawks would force Carson to beat rival Douglas the following week in Minden to get into the playoffs.