To say Joe Nelson bounced back nicely would be an understatement.
After an off week in the 42-7 win over McQueen, Nelson completed his first eight passes and finished 11-for-14 for 146 yards to spark Carson to an easy 35-6 win over Reno in Friday’s Northern Division I regional semifinal at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Nelson has started five games and won them all, and he had a big hand in two other games in which he came off the bench to direct the team to scores.
“I went to coach (Blair) Roman’s classroom during lunch this week and watched film on Reno’s defense,” Nelson said. “I looked at formations and what they like to do (in certain situations). We studied film like crazy this week.
“Last week I kind of panicked. I was more calm this week; better prepared.”
“Joe had a great game tonight and a great game two weeks ago against Douglas,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “Joe’s ceiling is very high. He reads defenses well.”
Nelson was at his best right before the half when he drove Carson 82 yards in six plays for a TD to give Carson a 28-0 lead with 40 seconds left in the half.
On third-and-1, he completed an 11-yard pass to Elijah Fajayan, and on the next play found Dilyn Rooker for 35 yards down to Reno’s 27. After an incomplete pass, Nelson threw a 27-yard scoring pass to Connor Pradere.
“That was a back breaker,” Roman said. “We’ve been practicing that all year, that 2-minute drill, and we executed it to perfection.”
The only mistake Nelson made came early in the 4th quarter when he was thrown for a 15-yard loss because he failed to get rid of the ball quick enough. Two plays prior to that, Nelson was thrown for a 6-yard loss when there was a mix-up back in the backfield.
“That was the only mistake he made all night,” Roman said. “He had a receiver open if he’d thrown it right away.”
Nelson is now 49 for 71 for 783 yards and six TDs against just two interceptions.