Carson High out to spoil Douglas High’s postseason chances
Carson (2-7, 0-4) at Douglas (3-6, 1-3)
Where: Douglas High School
When: 7 p.m.
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Week 10 offers Carson High a chance at finishing the year on a positive note and responding to a heartbreaking loss to Wooster last week.
The Senators head to Minden to tangle with their rivals in Douglas High with the winner claiming “The Rivalry Trophy.”
Douglas currently plays host to the trophy and the Senators’ bus ride home Friday night could be an unforgettable one if they can carry the prize with them.
“We’ve been able to put Wooster behind us,” said Carson head coach Blair Roman. “Both programs are doing a lot of the same kinds of things we’ve done for quite a while. It’s not like there is a ton of surprises from what we’re expecting from each other.”
With Carson’s postseason hopes dashed last week, the Senators get a shot to not only end their season on a positive, but would also spoil the Tigers’ chance at a postseason berth with a win.
Should Douglas win, their postseason route will be determined on outcomes of contests Saturday between Damonte Ranch at Galena and Bishop Manogue at Wooster, likely leaving the seeding to be determined by tiebreaker.
Friday night in Minden will bring together two programs familiar with each other and two teams that have followed similar paths this season.
Carson and Douglas have relied heavily on their ground games to jump start their offense and neither coach was shy about admitting the importance of that particular facet.
Carson’s backfield has gone from tandem to healthiest available and back again after Bradley Maffei and Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez had 30 of Carson’s 45 carries on the ground last week.
Both Senator quarterbacks have shown their capabilities to find open space as well with a combined 12 carries last week between Jonny Laplante and Will Breeding.
“It’s obviously important for us every week,” said Roman. “I’m expecting them to be ready and they know they’re going to have to slow us down on the run.”
Douglas junior running back Trevor Kruger has been equally, if not harder, to stop on the ground, posting 125 yards rushing per contest this season, which is second best in the Sierra League.
Through the air the Tigers have done more damage than the Senator quarterback combo as Douglas’ Isaac Shaver has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, but has tossed 12 interceptions.
Shaver’s two main targets have been two juniors in 6-2 Isaiah Geilenfeldt and 6-3 Cameron Swain, who have combined for 1,060 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns thus far.
“Not giving up the big play. It’s been plaguing us all season,” said Roman. “Every single score that Wooster had was a play over 30 or 40 yards. It’s just at a point where the kids need to step up and play better in those situations.”
Just like on the offensive side of the ball, both teams have had similar troubles preventing the big play which could mean a high-scoring affair if both offenses can find a rhythm.
The Senators defense has played well the last two weeks outside of getting burned for long touchdowns.
Carson has seen its defensive line grow over the final weeks of the season and the Senators will need every ounce of effort from the boys up front to try to slow Douglas’ ground attack.
The Tigers are coming off back-to-back losses from the two most explosive offensive teams in the Sierra League (Bishop Manogue and Damonte Ranch) and sit with the most points allowed on defense in league play this year.
On defense, Tiger sophomore linebacker Gabe Foster has 76 tackles this year while two of his teammates (Isaac Leigh and Christopher Smalley) have totals in the high-60s.
For 37 senior members of the two teams, Friday will be their last meeting on the high school turf.
“It’s a big game to the communities and it’s a big game to the kids in particular at both schools and that’s what is neat about it,” said Roman. “The rivalry is going to be emotional, it’s going to be physical.”