The Carson High football team will have a tall task Friday night in trying to limit the plays made from two areas of Reno’s 4-1 squad.
The first will be with the Senator defenders as they try to contain the explosiveness of Drew Worthen (No. 5), who is Nevada’s leading rusher in 4A so far this season.
Worthen, who is averaging 8.4 yards per carry, has accumulated 878 yards on the ground over 104 carries in the Huskies’ five games this season.
The senior halfback has also tallied 11 touchdowns on the ground.
“No. 1, we need to take good angles to the ball,” said Carson head coach Blair Roman. “He’s an explosive runner when he gets to those second and third levels. I think one of the key things is trying to limit the explosive runs as much as you can.
“That first tackler being able to get him down or slow him down, so we can rally on him is important.”
The Huskies will feature a spread look on offense, typical of what Carson is used to seeing from most of its opponents.
Roman added that if Carson can stay in front of Worthen and stayed disciplined defensively, it’ll allow the Senators to better contain the Husky air attack.
Worthen isn’t just a threat on the offensive side of the ball. The Reno senior has recorded five interceptions in five games this season and snagged three INTs last week in the Huskies’ 17-13 win over Galena.
While Worthen lurks in the secondary, Reno middle linebacker Mick Carey (No. 44) has fed off opponents, putting up 73 total tackles in five games and leading 4A.
Carey hasn’t had an off night yet this season, posting a minimum of 13 tackles in each of the five games Reno has played.
Along with the 73 tackles, Carey has 3.5 sacks and has forced two fumbles.
“On every play we’re going to account for the middle linebacker in terms of our blocking scheme,” said Roman. “It really comes down to doing your job and getting someone blocked in the box.”
Roman said the Reno defense features a number of talented threats on top of the two Husky statistical leaders.
Keeping the offense rolling
If the Senators are to compete with the Huskies, it’ll be up to the Carson offense to give its defense as long of a break as possible between Reno possessions.
The Senators tallied over 300 yards rushing in a 42-6 Homecoming win over Hug last week, but the Hawks don’t have the same defensive presence the Huskies present.
For Roman, the Senators’ blocking scheme is going to force their running backs to win one-on-one battles in order to pick up bigger chunks of yards.
“That’s something we preach in our offense. We expect our running backs to win those one-on-one matchups in those situations,” said Roman. “It’s something that we work on constantly.”
Carson’s reputation as a running team will once again be put to test as Bradley Maffei and Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez recorded 226 yards and five touchdowns combined last week.
Polanco-Vasquez continued to show his ability to get to the edge and turn up field last week while Maffei bulldozed his way to a 7.2 yards per carry average.
Even with the successes on the ground and a ground-first approach, Roman noted his quarterback play will need to be smart and efficient when the Senators are forced to go to the air.
Will Breeding and Jonny Laplante have combined for a 51.9 completion percentage and 378 yards through the air in the Senators’ four games with two touchdowns and one interception.
On top of keeping the offense moving, Carson will have to do so while playing on the road for the first time in over a calendar month.
Since 2010, Reno has a 6-4 edge on the series, including taking the last four matchups in 2017 and 2016 where the two programs met twice each season.