Carson, Reno renew rivalry
Appeal Sports Writer
Maybe tonight’s football game between the Carson Senators and Reno Huskies won’t be remembered in biblical or truly historical terms, but it will continue a rivalry that goes back at least to 1922, when Carson won its first of four state championships.
And what is certain is that the Huskies, 1-2, well remember their last meeting with the Senators. Last Oct. 26, it was an upstart Carson team that ended the Huskies’ postseason dreams with a 32-22 upset at Carson High School.
While the Huskies (who have won 20 state championships) finished at 6-3 and went home to lick their wounds over the offseason, Carson advanced to its first playoff game since 2002, losing to Reed 37-0 in the first round.
“It’s a big game,” said Carson coach Shane Quilling, whose Senators are 0-3 on the season and are coming off a 44-12 defeat to unbeaten McQueen of the High Desert League. “It’s our first (Sierra League) game. We have a lot to prove.”
But so does Reno, which lost to McQueen 5-0 to open the season and is coming off a 41-21 loss to undefeated Reed after beating Elko two weeks ago. And its motive is as old as mankind: revenge.
“Last year we knocked them out of the playoffs. I’m sure they want to beat us so they can get that bad taste out of their mouths,” Quilling said. “There’s probably not one person who will pick us (to win). If we can figure some things out, we can do some good things. (Tonight) will be a good night to start.”
The Carson defense will be tested by a balanced attack led by quarterback Glenn Wallace, who has completed 20-of-48 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns, while throwing three interceptions.
His favorite targets have been wideouts Kyle Wirgler (seven receptions for 117 yards and one TD) and Thomas Wood (five catches for 87 yards and two scores).
Quilling said he would be looking to multi-talented senior Will Holbert and junior Jake Madden to help out with his secondary from the cornerback position. Holbert will be moving over from his outside linebacker slot and Madden is returning from a broken hand.
“Secondary-wise, we’ve had a terrible time covering the fade,” Quilling said. “Everybody does it. The kids have to do what they’ve been taught. We’re not making plays in the secondary. The first two games we should’ve won, but we broke down a couple of times.”
Carson, which held the Lancers to 132 yards rushing, will attempt to stop Reno running backs Jamie Olander (23 carries, 123 yards and one TD), Cruise McClure (89 yards on 18 attempts, including one touchdown) and Greg Christopher (31 carries for 89 yards).
Defensively, Quilling said, the Huskies run a 5-2 and a 5-3 scheme.
“They’re a lot like McQueen,” Quilling said. “They’re almost identical to McQueen, although I think McQueen is a little better. (The Huskies) have good athletes. Against McQueen, Reno was able to move the ball a few times, but they didn’t score.
“Reno almost beat McQueen. They had the ball on the last drive, but they couldn’t take it down and score. We scored twice on them. We had three drives over 10 plays. One in the first half we screwed up with a penalty. We had one for about 19 plays where we drove to a score. And the last one (a scoring drive) was over 10 plays.”
On their 19-play drive, the Senators consumed 9 minutes, 14 seconds of the third quarter before running back Chris McBroom took it in from a yard out for a score.
It was the first touchdown of the season for McBroom, who has picked up 114 yards on 22 carries. Holbert leads the Senators with 176 yards on 40 carries, with four TDs, while senior quarterback Mitch Hammond has 157 yards on 55 attempts.
Hammond has completed 18-of-36 passes for 199 yards and has two picks. Holbert is also Carson’s leading receiver, with six receptions for 69 yards, followed by sophomore Ean Witter (five catches for 49 yards).
Quilling said he blames his team as much its opponents for its defeats.
“No.1, we’ve been beating ourselves,” he said. “It’s not what the other teams are doing – it’s us. If we quit beating ourselves, we’ll be in some games and have a chance to win.”
That said, Quilling said his players are not behaving like a losing team.
“That’s one thing about these guys, they don’t let up,” he said. “We’re totally happy with their effort. They’re going hard and we had another good week of practice. They need to figure it out. They need to play winning football. We’ve been giving them away.”
Carson lost it first two games by a combined 11 points – 19-14 to Mojave and 20-14 to Spanish Springs – but had a chance to win both games before running out of time against the Rattlers and after suffering a turnover against the Cougars.
Quilling said if his team had played like it did against the Lancers, it would’ve won its other two games.
In spite of all the talk of Reno’s revenge factor, Carson isn’t lacking for motivation itself. With its victory over the Huskies last year Carson ended a five-year drought to Reno.
“We finally got one last year,” Quilling said. “Hopefully, we’ll build on that one and let our seniors walk away with two wins (against Reno). It’s going to be a heated, high-energy game and a fun one to be in. This is the kind of game that you want to be a part of.”
After all, that’s what a rivalry is all about.
The game begins 7:30 p.m. tonight at Reno High School.