Carson ready for another shot at Galena
Carson High will attempt to make a little history when it hosts Galena in the second round of the 4A regional football playoffs.
The Senators are attempting to become the first in school history to win 10 games in a season. It has already tied a school record with its nine wins (9-2). The state championship team led by coach Ed Jesse went 9-0 in 1964.
The winner of today’s game (7 p.m. kickoff) advances to the 4A regional championship game Nov. 21 at Damonte Ranch against the winner of the McQueen-Reed game.
“It’s the first thing I told the kids on Monday,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “They have an opportunity to set a school record for wins in a season and to represent their school in the zone finals.
“I think we have exceeded everybody’s expectations in our league and a lot of our own. In some ways they have exceeded my expectations. This is not an overachieving team. We’re a solid, good football team.”
You would be hard pressed to dispute Roman on the quality of this year’s team. The Senators have been impressive on both sides of the ball, averaging more than 40 a game and giving up only 11.5 on defense.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” said two-way lineman Justin Barlow, who will start today after missing last week’s game with a leg injury. “We’ve already exceeded my expectations. Going into the season I thought if we had a winning season I would have been happy. It just keeps going and going. All the hard work we put in has paid off. I’m excited to go out and play Galena again.”
This is the second meeting of the season between the Sierra League rivals. Carson won the first meeting 45-14 on Oct. 16.
Roman knows the Senators will have their hands full. In the first meeting between the teams, it was a 24-14 game until Carson scored three times in the last five minutes to make the game a rout.
Josh Peacock’s and ensuing 85-yard interception return set up the second of those three scores and put the game out of reach.
“You can’t do that versus a good team,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “Hopefully we learned that from the first game. You can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to beat a very good football team.”
Galena has a high-powered offense, averaging 34 points a game. Quarterback Beau Bickel, who grew up in Carson City, completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,524 yards and 19 scores. He also rushed for 410 yards and eight scores. Running back Eric Howsley leads the team in rushing with 1,022 yards along with 13 TDs. He’s also caught 16 passes for 186 yards and three scores. Garrett Shutt is the Grizzlies top receiver with 34 catches for 645 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“They played us really well for over three quarters,” Roman said. “Howsley had some nice runs against us. It’s going to be a tough game, no doubt about it. I have a great deal of respect for what they are doing over there.”
Added Peacock: “We have to contain those three guys and keep them from making big plays. They pass more than they run even though Howsley is a tough runner.”
One Carson player who has Struzyk’s attention is Carson sophomore Dylan Sawyers, who has scored 24 touchdowns this year. In their last meeting he carried the ball 13 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a 25-yard pass to Ean Witter and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a score to give the Senators a 21-7 first-half lead. Sawyers is averaging 60 yards a kickoff return in just six opportunities.
“It’s tough to give up field position,” Struzyk said. “I haven’t seen a kid like that (Sawyers) since Chris Carr. (As a coach) you want the ball in his hands all the time.”
Carr, who played for McQueen, went to play for Boise State and currently plays cornerback for the Balitmore Ravens.
Struzyk said preparing for the Senators isn’t easy because of all their weapons. Manogue did the best defensive job against the Senators when it allowed just 11 points in Carson’s only league loss this season.
Sawyers has teamed with backfield mate Mark Sinnott (588 yards, 12 TDs) and Luke Carter (299 yards, three TDs). Quarterback Blake Plattsmier adds another dynamic with his ability to both pass (986 yards, 12 TDs) and run (444 yards, 5 TDs).
“It’s a playoff situation, and we should be ready for everything,” Struzyk said.