Carson optimistic for 2002 |

Carson optimistic for 2002

A faster, stronger and more experienced Carson High football team will take the field this season under second-year coach Shane Quilling.

No wonder the Senators are talking about making a run at the Sierra League title and hosting a playoff game.

Quilling said his team “improved greatly in the off season, strength-wise, fast-wise. We’ve got some great speed.

We got in the weight room. We’ve had a great off season.”

Last season, the Senators were able to win four games and advance to the Northern 4A playoffs. But there were times last year that Carson was physically outmatched.

That won’t be the case this year, Quilling said. “We’re not going to get the physical —- beat out of us,” he said.

Carson returns 11 starters, more than 20 players with varsity experience and has 25 seniors as opposed to 13 seniors last year. “That’s a huge difference,” Quilling said.

The Senators have 143 players in the program and 42 on varsity after struggling to field 30 players on the varsity at the end of last year.

Quilling said he’s even struggling to find enough equipment for everyone. “It’s a good problem,” he said.

Carson could arguably be the fastest team in the state. All of the team’s starters at quarterback, receiver and running back run the 40 in the 4.6-range or faster.

Frank Bleuss, who took over as the starting quarterback at the end of last year, returns at the position. His targets will include George Pincock and Matt Waterman.

Quilling said he hopes to have a vastly improved passing attack and plans to throw the ball 15 to 20 times a game. Pincock runs the 40 in the 4.5-range.

There’s also plenty of speed at running back in Chris Kotter and Jack Brooks. They will be backed up by Paul Carter and Robert Schneider. Junior Mike Handley, another outstanding athlete, will be the team’s third receiver and will see plenty of action.

Mike Dittenber, another outstanding athlete who could also see time on defense, will back up Bleuss at quarterback.

While the offensive line officially returns two starters, in effect four starters are back on the offensive line.

Junior Mike Moore (6-2, 280), who started at center last year, will move to right guard. Nate White is the other returning starter.

They will be joined by defensive-offensive lineman Allen Wooldridge, another experienced player, and Eric Rangel, who would have been a starter last year. But Rangel missed the entire season after being injured on the first play of the year.

Andrew Candia (6-0, 225) will take over at center. Candia is nursing a shoulder injury and if he can’t go to start the season, White will move to center and Mark Robinson will start on the offensive line. There is plenty of depth on the offensive line, which includes Jeff Gesick.

Ricky Freeman, who started the last four games last year, returns at defensive end. Robb Ghiglieri will also start on the defensive line.

Other defensive linemen are Moore at nose guard, Wooldridge, Mike DeWitt, Adam Cox, Candia and Dominic Schmidt. Josh Menteer should provide the defensive line a lift when he becomes eligible in the sixth game of the season.

Carson’s most heralded player this year could be junior Nick Shine (6-3, 230), who will start at linebacker and tight end.

“I think Nick Shine’s going to be one of the premiere players in Northern Nevada,” Quilling said. “The kid’s got all the tools.

“He could be a devastating player. He’s going to be fun to watch.”

John Stewart, who will share time with Shine at tight end, will be another starting linebacker. Others in the linebacking corp include Steve McQuirk, Joe Roman, Schneider, Jared Wulff, Brooks and Carter.

At cornerback will be Handley, Pincock and Ryan Sarkissian. Pincock and Shine were both named to the all-camp team at the University of Nevada camp this summer.

Quilling said Pincock could potentially be a Division I prospect. “Speed-wise he is,” Quilling said.

At free safety is Waterman and he’ll be backed up by Dan Rotter. Shine will be the punter and Cameron Leck will be the kicker. Leck (6-2, 235) also adds depth on the offensive line.

Carson will again have two tough tests to begin the season when it hosts Elko on Sept. 6 and then plays Galena.

“We expect to go in and give them a good game and beat them at home,” said Quilling about Elko. “Elko’s a good test. It’s a difficult challenge.”

Quilling said Reno and Douglas are other teams to look for in the Sierra League. “I think we’ll be more balanced in the north,” said Quilling about the Northern 4A this year.

Carson should find out a lot about itself when it scrimmages at 7 p.m. tonight at McQueen. Quilling has made it no secret that McQueen is the program he’s patterned his program after and that’s the level that he wants to reach.

“We’ve got a lot more depth and we’ve got a lot more weapons,” Quilling said.

But Quilling noted that his team has to prove itself on the field. “We haven’t proven anything to anybody,” he said.