Douglas-Carson rivalry continues tonight

RENO -- It's been almost eight months since Douglas beat Carson 43-32 in football. But if there's one thing players on either team need to work on after high school, it will have to be learning how to forget.

"We beat Carson during the regular season but twice would be nice," said Douglas' Drew Bateman. "What better way for Douglas football players to end their high school career than by beating Carson guys in the last game ever."

Bateman and six other Tigers will get that chance tonight at 7:20 when they represent the West squad in the 22nd annual Sertoma Classic game at Reno High's Foster Field. Carson, which has three players on the East team, will be looking to avenge that 11-point loss on Nov. 1 in Minden.

"Yeah, the whole Douglas thing is still on our minds," said the Senators' George Pincock, who was one of the fastest players in the Northern 4A last season. "They got us during the regular season. But I'd like to beat a Douglas guy deep on Friday night."

All right, maybe this particular rivalry will never die. No matter how old the players to ever play in the game get and no matter how meaningless the games get. Face it, whenever Carson and Douglas play against one other, nobody wants to lose.

"Of course, it's a rivalry, the oldest one in Nevada," said Bateman, the son of Bob Bateman, who was the head football coach at Carson for eight years before becoming Douglas' defensive coordinator in 2001. "But it's a respect rivalry. We see a lot of them around but everything is left on the field. That's how the both of us look at it."

Despite the Nov. 1 loss, Carson still leads the overall series 37-14-2 and also won the first game played between the two schools in 1923. The Senators had won four of five games against the Tigers before their most recent loss. However, the result from this past season's game had significant playoff implications.

Douglas earned the No. 2 seed from the Sierra League with the win. That meant it got to host a playoff game for the first time since 1974, which was before any of its current players were even born. Carson, meanwhile, dropped to the No. 4 seed and had to play eventual zone and state champion McQueen in the first round of the zone playoffs.

"Yeah, I still remember all that," said Pincock, who will walk next season to the University of Colorado's track team.

However, if spectators are expecting outstanding play from members of either team, think again. None of the 10 players have played much since the zone playoffs ended in November, which means there was some obvious rust to work off when both the East and West teams began practice on Monday.

"The first few practices were rough, but we've really started to mesh well the last couple of practices," Bateman said. "It's been nice to put the pads on one more time and get together with everybody and play one more game. I haven't talked to anybody out here who isn't excited to play another game."

Especially one against Carson players.


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