CHS football must overcome adversity, Tahoe |

CHS football must overcome adversity, Tahoe

Appeal Sports Writer

When it comes to dealing with adversity, Carson High School football coach Shane Quilling is not one to crawl under a blanket and suck his thumb. And regardless of the situation, he expects his players to face their challenges head-on.

Quilling and the Senators will need that kind of attitude tonight when they face the South Tahoe Vikings after a week’s worth of injuries and suspensions have reduced an already thin lineup.

Not only will the Senators, 0-1 in the Sierra League and 0-4 overall, be without do-it-all running back/cornerback Will Holbert, who suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Friday’s 28-7 loss to Reno, but they will be missing at least four other players when they face South Tahoe (0-1, 0-4) in a Sierra League matchup.

Senior starting guard Trent Simpson (sprained ankle) and senior inside linebacker Philip Maier (stiff neck) are out with injuries and two other unnamed players have been suspended due to “poor choices.”

“It was a bad week,” Quilling said with a rueful smile Wednesday. “Even with all that, we have to come out and do things we’re capable of doing and give ourselves a chance to win. We’re not going to worry about who we don’t have.”

Rather than spending time dwelling on his team’s misfortune, Quilling has spent his time crunching film of the Vikings, who are coming off a 20-0 loss to Hug.

“Their quarterback (senior Anthony Stagnaro) throws the ball pretty well,” Quilling said. “He’s passed for about 500 yards and has a good strong arm. And they have kids that can get open.

“(In the backfield) they run the I (formation), the power-I, the toss, power (sweep), lead (dive play), fullback trap and tailback counter. The have decent size up front and were able to move the ball against Hug pretty well.”

Quilling said South Tahoe’s defense is as equally diverse as its offense.

“They have a 5-2 and an inverted cover 4; their defensive front two or three are solid and their linebackers run well.”

Carson has won four of its last five meetings with South Tahoe, including a 20-12 victory on “The Hill” at South Tahoe High School last year. The Vikings last beat Carson in 2004, 42-41.

The Vikings have also lost to Spanish Springs (40-7) and two Class 3A teams, Dayton (19-10) and Sparks (34-7), this season.

For its part, Carson has also lost to McQueen (44-12), Spanish Springs (20-14) and Mojave (19-14).

“Just like I’ve said the last few weeks – every week this season – it’s a matter of us coming out and doing our thing,” Quilling said of the key to getting a victory over South Tahoe. “Reno and McQueen are solid teams – offensively and defensively. We actually played better against McQueen (than Reno).

“Reno brought their ends hard and so we were able to run our speed option successfully. What hurt us was 10 sacks – that killed us. Hopefully we can rectify that. It’s a matter of the offensive line, quarterback and running backs doing their job. We lost 100 yards – close to it – on sacks. We had our chances. That’s all you can ask for.”

Last week, with Holbert and junior Jake Madden playing on the corners, Carson was able to correct a problem it had been having on the deep fade; Reno was, however, able to beat the Senators a couple of times with passes to its fullback in the flat.

“It could’ve been a 21-14, 28-21 game,” Quilling said. “We’ve got to score more than one touchdown. This week we need to play four quarters. We’ve played good one quarter at a time. We played a good half (against Reno) and were down 14-7. It could’ve been 14-14. We have to come out and play the whole game. They (the Vikings) are not going to lay down. They want to come here and win.”

Even before getting into how his team will deal with the loss of Holbert as well as its other injured players, Quilling was asked every coach’s favorite question: Is the game with South Tahoe a must-win?

“It pretty much is,” he said. “If we don’t win this game, it’s going to be hard to win a game. We have to go to 1-1 in league. We have to get on track if we want to get to the playoffs.

“If we lose, we could still win four in a row, but we’d be putting ourselves behind the eightball. If we win, we’re still in control of our own destiny. I’ve seen every team on film but Douglas. At the moment, there’s not a dominant team (in the Sierra League). Right now Reno is a solid team. We can come out and have a chance to win if we do what we’re supposed to do.”

Quilling said he was misquoted following the Reno game, something he felt misrepresented the nature of his team.

Said Quilling: “The (Nevada Appeal) said our players had to stop feeling sorry for themselves. I said that at 0-4, it would be easy to feel sorry for ourselves. I meant the worst thing we could do is feel sorry for ourselves. At 0-4 (overall) and 0-1 in league, there’s no reason to feel sorry for ourselves.”

And by all accounts, they’re not.

“Their work ethic has been great,” Quilling said. “We’ve had good practice. The kids don’t back down. They don’t let up. Reno plays Douglas, Hug and Damonte Ranch. There are six games left in league. Anything can happen.

“We’re not going to worry about ourselves when we can come out and win Friday night. We just haven’t been consistent. It’s frustrating. It’s been like a roller coaster – good-bad, good-bad. We need to be more consistent at the end of games.”

Quilling said junior Maciek Kuroczka and sophomores Mark Sinnott and Erik Roberson will try and step alongside senior Chris McBroom in the backfield in place of Holbert, who led the team with 267 yards and five touchdowns on 56 carries and who had a team-high 10 receptions for 86 yards.

Quilling also said seniors Matt Kleinfieldt and Bryce Evans will try and step in for Simpson defensively, while junior Mark Fowzer will move back to cornerback in place of Holbert.

“We can’t change the past – we can’t go back and undo the past,” Quilling said. “But you know what, we can make a brand new future for ourselves. And it starts (tonight).”

The Senators-Vikings game begins at 7:30 p.m. at Carson High School.