Throw out the first quarter, and the Carson Senators’ defense played an outstanding game against Reno.
That first quarter, however, made you want to cover your eyes.
Evan Moore and Reese Taylor broke off long scoring runs in the first five minutes of the game, and the Huskies went on to shut out Carson, 19-0, Friday night at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
It was the first time the Senators had been shut out since Oct. 12, 2012 when they were blasted by Galena, 42-0.
“We played a tremendous team 0-0 for three quarters,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “Those two long touchdowns were the difference in the game.
“As disappointing as tonight was, it showed me the intestinal fortitude of our players. I liked our effort. We have two young quarterbacks who are learning. We’re doing the best we can right now. I’m optimistic. The next time we play here we’re going to do better; be better. Reno is a little more advanced right now.”
Reno coach Dan Avansino was displeased with his offense, save for the two long plays.
“We couldn’t get any continuity on offense,” Avansino said. “We lost rhythm early. Carson knows us really well. They know what we do, and we’re trying to figure out what we have besides (Brandon) Kaho. It’s a learning process.
“Defensively, we played very, very hard throughout the whole game.”
Indeed. Any time you can hold Abel Carter under 100 yards (88) and keep him out of the end zone, your defense has done a good job.
And, it’s hard to fault Carson’s defense through the first two weeks of the season. The Senators have allowed just 32 points, and in most cases that would be enough to be 2-0. The Senators did a solid job against Brandon Kaho, holding him to 80 yards on 16 carries. The Huskies used their star running back as a tailback and quarterback when they went to the wildcat formation.
The Senators were guilty of losing outside containment on both of the long scoring runs early in the first quarter.
Reno collected two first downs on its opening drive, and faced a second-and-11 from its own 41. Moore started from the left side of the formation, took a handoff and blasted around the right side, outracing the Carson defense to the end zone. Kaho’s PAT made it 7-0 with 9:25 left in the opening quarter.
Carson went three and out on its first possession, and Reno was back in the end zone moments later, starting from its own 34.
Taylor ran the ball up the middle. The Carson defenders rushed to the ball. Taylor, who had more than 190 yards rushing last week against Stagg on just nine carries, was able to bounce it outside and there wasn’t a CHS defender to be found. The run made it 13-0, as Kaho missed the extra point.
“I’ll have to check film, but it appeared we lost contain on both of those runs,” Roman said. “Those things can be fixed.”
Taylor set up the next score when he intercepted a Blake Menzel pass at the Carson 27, and brought it back 14 yards to the 13. Kaho scored three plays later from the 2 to make it 19-0 with 28 seconds left in the opening quarter.
That was it for the Reno offense, as Carson’s defense played tougher in the final three quarters. Reno had just two first downs and Carson intercepted Reno’s quarterbacks three times.
Carson rebounded with its best drive of the game to start the second period, going from its own 35 to the Reno 35.
Two critical plays killed the drive. Menzel fumbled a snap and took a 10-yard loss, and Tanner Kalicki dropped a pass on fourth down.
Carson lost a second scoring opportunity on its final drive of the first half after Carter picked off a pass at the Carson 35 and returned it to the Reno 29.
On Carson’s last offensive snap of the half, Menzel lofted a ball to the left corner of the end zone. The ball ended up in Carter’s hands, but the officials ruled it hit the ground before he got control. Roman said after the game he couldn’t tell whether it was a legal catch.
Carson got into Reno territory twice in the second half, but punted the ball away the first time and Menzel threw an interception the second time.
The offense, unfortunately, didn’t play well.
Through two games, the Senators have not been able to find a complementary piece to Carter, and that’s critical.
“We drove the ball downfield a couple of time and couldn’t put points on the board,” said tackle Dallin Shaffer. “We have to fix a couple of things.”
Menzel appeared to play tentative in his first start, and that’s understandable.
“I could have done better passing and protecting the football,” he said. “The first one (interception) I tried to force the ball in.”
With Carson unable to move the ball in the air, Reno didn’t have to respect the pass, and it stacked the box to contain Carter.
The 190-pound Carter took some punishment from the physical Reno defense.
He had four runs of 10 or more yards, but was never able to break off a big one as he did twice last week against Lewiston in a 14-13 win.