As a coach, you always want to leave losses behind you. But for Carson High coach Shane Quilling and Galena's Greg Sakelaris, it's been tough to do.
Last week, in Quilling's debut as the Senators' new head coach, Elko dismantled Carson, 48-16. A game that Quilling said the Indians deserved to win, but not in the fashion they did.
"Our worst enemy was ourselves (vs. Elko)," Quilling said. "Out of 48 plays they had, we stoned them on 35 of them. It was the big plays we gave up that hurt us. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit."
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, lost to seven-time state champion Wooster, 14-13. A game Galena (0-1) led the entire way until the very end. A game that could've sent the Grizzlies over the top in their quest to prove they belonged in the Northern 4A's elite.
"It was just a heartbreak, but I think the kids have responded well at practice this week and I think the only thing to heal the pain is to get back out on the field," said Sakelaris, who led Galena to its first ever playoff appearance last season.
So neither game unfolded as Quilling and Sakelaris felt they should have. But tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Carson High, one of them will win their first game of the season, at the mercy of the other. And Quilling is looking for his first career win at Carson after taking over for Bob Bateman, who stepped down after eight years with the program. To do it home, would be nice, Quilling says.
"We need to come out and execute well," Quilling said. "We do have a lot of good athletes on this team and hopefully, it'll all come out tomorrow."
But when it comes to scouting the opposition, Sakelaris and Quilling are finding it difficult. Last year, Carson opened its season with a 56-7 loss to eventual state champion McQueen, then had to play Galena the week afterwards.
"Both years they (Carson) have opened up against two of the best teams. So on film, it's been the same thing, kind of deceiving," Sakelaris said. "What the kids saw on tape was much different than how Carson turned out to be."
A week after losing to the Lancers, the Senators shutout the Grizzlies, 28-0.
For Quilling, figuring out Galena isn't easy, either. Statistically, the Grizzly defense was solid the entire game, holding the Colts to minus-6 yards on offense in the first quarter. And it wasn't until the fourth quarter before the Wooster offense finally ventured into Galena territory. And that was Zac Bryson's 52-yard pass to Ben Confer, which was followed by Bryson's 17-yard touchdown pass to Confer, which was followed by Bryson's successful two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper, which lifted the Colts to the win.
"They played awfully well and should've won the game," Quilling said of Galena. "Wooster came up with three big plays. But Wooster didn't run the ball very well. And they didn't look as good as most people are accustomed to seeing Wooster play."
So here's what Quilling does know about Galena:
"They're big up front (offensive and defensive lines). They're not as quick as Elko. So speed-wise, I think we have a bit of an advantage. And they're backs are good. Again, they're not nearly as fast as the backs we faced last week, but they'll come out and play tough."
Against Wooster, Galena's Luke Penrose, Robbie Lund, and Brandon Hendrix combined to rush for 101 yards.
Here's what Sakelaris knows about Carson:
"They have a lot of quickness on the line. They're not the biggest guys in the world, but they sure are fast. We just need to key on that veer option offense because they're quarterback can really run the ball well."
Carson rushed for 114 yards against Elko. Starting quarterback, Scott O'Brien, ran for 28 of those yards.
If Quilling's first win doesn't come tonight, he won't lose any sleep over it. As much as he wants to win, he still realizes it's a non-league game and won't effect whether or not Carson makes the playoffs.
"To me, they mean zero," Quilling said. "But they're another game to better. We're not in panic mode, not by any means. I just think it'll be good for us to play at home."