Good, Bad and Ugly for Carson in scrimmage
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – When scrimmaging against another team, statistics don’t really count and the action is viewed in varying degrees of relativity.
So for the Carson High School varsity football team – which met the Bishop Manogue Miners in a nearly two-hour scrimmage at Manogue High School on Saturday – it can look at its final preseason affair sort of like Einstein’s theory of relativity meeting Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western: Call it the Relatively Good, Bad and Ugly.
The relatively ugly part for Carson, which finished 5-6 last season and made its first postseason appearance since 2002 (it lost to High Desert League champion Reed, 37-0, in the first round of the Northern 4A regional playoffs), was that it entered the scrimmage suffering from a double dose of injury and flu bugs.
“We had 10 guys out, sick or hurt,” said seventh-year Carson head coach Shane Quilling. “We were missing four of our top five linebackers and three of our top five running backs. We’re just thin. That’s the nature of the beast.”
The relatively bad thing for the Senators was that their three squads managed one touchdown while surrendering six TDs to the Miners, who finished 10-2 last year, losing to Galena in the Northern 4A regional championship game.
There is, however, a relatively good way to look at that statistic.
“They scored twice on our ones and we scored once on theirs,” Quilling said. “That second touchdown (on a passing play) – we would’ve never run that (in a game); we were just running plays.”
After Manogue had scored on a 65-yard run on the third play of the scrimmage and with a pass during its second series, the Senators struck back with their own airborne assault, as senior quarterback Mitch Hammond hooked up with junior wide receiver Steven Fowzer for a 65-yard TD.
“Overall on the things we executed, we had some good plays,” Quilling said. “Overall we didn’t do a good job pass blocking, but Mitch threw that touchdown. (The Miners) are a big team. They’re a good team. I think we’re a good team.
“Everyone has injuries. I’m not making excuses. We were just limited to what could do with our injuries and young guys. Two out of three of our linebackers have never played linebacker before. You can’t stop people like that. We’ve got to get healthy.”
Carson was missing starters Will Holbert (running back/linebacker), Philip Maier (running back/linebacker), Nick Cutunilli (linebacker/tight end), and Danny Gould (left tackle) with varying degrees of sickness and injuries.
The Senators were also missing, among others, Todd Banko (wide receiver/cornerback) and Erik Roberson. Roberson, Carson’s fourth running back, suffered a torn medial collateral ligament during Carson’s first varsity practice and is out indefinitely.
Quilling said he expected to get four players back in time for Carson’s season-opener against Mojave at Carson High Friday and maybe two more the week after.
If there was one positive from Saturday’s scrimmage, it was that Carson’s greener players saw plenty of action and gained some experience.
“It was great for our young guys,” Quilling said. “We have 12 guys back who have played a down, so our twos and threes had almost as many reps as our ones. And we got through it with no injuries. To the people in the stands, it may have looked bad, but I really don’t feel bad. With what we had, we did OK.”
Quilling is hoping his team can get healthy in time to exact revenge on the Rattlers on Friday. Mojave defeated Carson, 28-14, in last season’s opener in Las Vegas.
“I don’t know a heck of a lot about them,” Quilling said of the Rattlers. “I have to talk to a buddy of mine in Las Vegas. They haven’t been big in the past, but they have speed. They had great speed last year, so I assume they have the same thing. They’re very athletic.
“It’s a great opener for us and a traveler for their players. It’s a good non-league game for us.”
And that means that Quilling and the Senators are looking to take the relativity out of the equation and have an unequivocally good game that counts, if not in Sierra League play, then at least on the record sheet.