Senators still looking to reduce miscues

It's a telling statistic in terms of describing the Carson High School football team's season to date: three games, 17 turnovers.

No team is going to win many games with an almost six-turnover average, but Carson coach Shane Quilling realizes there's ample time left for the 1-2 Senators to turn their season around.

"We still have five league games left. If we win them all, we have a shot to win the championship," Quilling said. "We can play with anybody, we just have to take it one game at a time, come out and execute, and get a win."

The Senators will be looking to get on track tonight when they host Reed in a 7:30 p.m. nonleague contest.

Both teams have experienced some ups and downs so far. Reed began its season with losses against Douglas and South Tahoe, then rebounded last Friday night with an eye-opening 19-17 High Desert League win against Elko. On the other hand, Carson lost to McQueen and beat Galena, then lost its Sierra League opener last Friday at Hug by an identical 19-17 score.

It was a heart breaker for the Senators, who led Hug 17-7 in the fourth quarter. Furthermore, the Hawks scored all 19 of their points off of Carson mistakes.

"We're like a comedy of errors," Quilling said. "We seem to make mistakes at the wrong time. We roughed the holder after a field goal attempt, they got first-and-goal from that and scored. Then, after we went up 17-7, we had them in a third-and-10 situation at their own 35 and we had a huge penalty to keep their drive alive. And then we had a fake punt that should have been called off, and that's my responsibility."

Hug scored two touchdowns less than two minutes apart to take a 19-17 lead with 6:30 left to play and the Hawks were threatening to extend the lead, but Carson's defense got the ball back thanks to a big goal line stand.

"That was a great goal line stand. The defense stopped them and gave us an opportunity to win, but then we turned the ball over again," Quilling said. "We had every opportunity to win that game. We just didn't get it done, player-wise or coaching-wise."

Getting past Reed will be no easy chore. The Raiders feature running back Jason Davis, who rushed for 121 yards and scored on a 91-yard run in the second quarter against Elko last week. Quarterback Zack May also threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders in their victory.

"Reed is very big. They run a lot of one-back, and the kid (Davis) is very good, he led the North in rushing last year," Quilling said. "But they have some fast receivers; they throw the ball more than they run."

The Senators have been solid on defense through three games, as Quilling pointed out they are giving up an average of 196 yards per game.

Injuries have been another factor, and tonight, the Senators may be without the services of senior inside linebacker John Stewart due to a lingering ankle injury.

"I'd list him as doubtful to play," Quilling said. "We had to cart him off the field two or three times last week. We need to get him healthy."

That still leaves senior Nick Shine, who presents a formidable obstacle for opposing offenses from his inside linebacker spot.

"Shine played awesome last week," Quilling said.

Austin Watson rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries against Hug, including a 49-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Aaron Holmes added 66 yards on 11 carries. Sophomore Matt Mitchell also kicked a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter and Jared Wulff scored on an 8-yard run in the third period to give Carson a 17-7 lead.

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