Douglas, Carson renew 81-year-old football rivalry
At a glance, all of the incentive would seem to favor the Carson High School football team coming into its regular season ending game tonight against Douglas in Minden.
Think again. True, the Douglas Tigers (4-1 Sierra League, 6-2 overall) are already assured of second-place in the Sierra League and home field advantage for the opening round of the Northern 4A playoffs. And yes, the Carson Senators (2-3, 3-6) are in a must-win situation if they want to extend their season.
But tonight’s 7 p.m. contest at Keith Roman Field marks the renewal in a series between neighboring schools that dates back to 1923, making this one of the oldest football rivalries in Nevada. Even though Carson holds a 37-15-2 lead in the series — the schools didn’t play between 1963 and 1979 because of their large and small school classifications – a more reflective number is the 5-5 mark over the last 10 years.
Keeping that in mind, statistics and any other numbers can be thrown right out the window when these teams get together.
“Carson and Douglas has always been a good rivalry,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “You throw out records when you play Carson because it’s going to be a battle for 48 minutes.”
Carson coach Shane Quilling echoed that.
“It should be exciting,” he said. “One thing about this week, you don’t have to get on the kids because they’re all rearing to go.”
They should be, anyway, because the Senators are in a must-win situation if they want to secure the league’s No. 4 seed for the Northern 4A playoffs. Carson is locked in a virtual tie with South Tahoe (2-4) for fourth-place, the Senators would lose out in the tie-breaker formula (based on South Tahoe’s 42-41 win on Oct. 9). The Senators would also fall short in the more complicated three- and four-team tie-breaker scenarios should Wooster and/or North Valleys win their games tonight (Wooster plays Reno and North Valleys plays Hug).
Douglas, which has won seven of eight games since losing its season opener at Reed, has plenty of incentive aside from the rivalry.
“We always have something to play for,” Rippee said. “When you’re a good team, you always play for pride. And we know Carson is a team that plays hard and won’t give up. I know they’ve had some adversity, but Shane and his coaching staff always prepare those guys. They play hard and they’re dangerous.”
The Senators have experienced a wild roller coaster ride the last three weeks, having given up a 21-point lead in their loss at South Tahoe, followed by a 35-34 win at Wooster in which they scored 20 unanswered points in the final six minutes, followed by a 36-22 loss last week when Reno scored the game’s final 29 points.
Carson’s veer offense has been led by running backs Bryan Maffei, who rushed for 175 yards against North Valleys, and Alex Martinez, who had 169 yards on just 10 carries against Reno.
“They run the ball real well,” Rippee said of the Senators. “I’m impressed with the two running backs, the quarterback (Kyle Bacon) is a big and strong kid who can hurt you, and their offensive line plays hard.”
Likewise, Douglas features a high-powered running attack led by senior running back Spike Agosta, who has rushed for 1,396 yards (7.7-yard average). Agosta played primarily as a backup behind All-North running back Dusty Cooper, but he has certainly come into his own this season.
“Spike hasn’t been a surprise to us,” Rippee said. “I watched him last year and the year before when he was on JVs, and I knew he was going to be a quality back. He’s strong and committed, and he’s a quick back who has great instincts.
“And, I’m sure Spike would be the first to say this, our offensive line has done an outstanding job. Not one of those guys had a lick of experience on the offensive line last year, but they’ve gotten good, and they’ve gotten good in a hurry.”
The Douglas offensive front includes Datin Whatcott at center, Trevor Freitas and Tyson Estes at the tackles, Nate Newton, Henry O’Hair and Ryan Guzman at the guards, along with Bryan Brady, Kyle Luken and sophomore Brent Koontz at tight end.
CHS Notes: Martinez was the offensive player of the week last week for the Senators while Maffei, who had two big returns, was the special teams player of the week. Cornerback Les Reddick was the defensive player of the week after having seven tackles and two assists.
Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.