Missing the punchline
Struggles in the red zone leave Carson with a 34-17 loss to Reno
RENO – Carson’s defense hung tough with Reno football most of the night, but the Huskies were able to capitalize on big plays and key drives to top Carson 34-17 Friday night.
Offensively, the Senators had some struggles, putting together a few long, time-consuming drives that didn’t result in a trip to the end zone.
Carson head coach Blair Roman took responsibility for some of the offensive issues, saying his play calling could have been better.
“We had a bad night offensively. I don’t think my play calling was in rhythm tonight and that kind of hurt,” said Roman.
After falling behind 21-0, Carson pieced together a 10-play drive with a long fourth down conversion by Jonny Laplante, who took a designed quarterback run 16 yards for a fresh set of downs.
The Senators pushed the ball to the Husky 5-yard line where they set up with a first-and-goal, but Carson went backwards on three plays and settled for a 29-yard field goal. The Jackson Kalicki kick made it 21-3 Reno with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
Carson running back Keith Price found pay dirt twice on back-to-back Senator drives, the last of which made it 34-17. Price ended the contest with touchdown runs of 12 and 16 yards and had 51 total yards on the ground.
Price and Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez were the two feature backs for the Senators as leading rusher Bradley Maffei watched from the sideline with an injury.
“Obviously he is going to want to play next week, but we will take it day-by-day,” said Roman. ”Obviously when you don’t have some of your better players available it can impact you.”
Polanco-Vasquez had a long kick return, which set up Price’s second touchdown run, but the senior running back suffered a shoulder injury on the return and sat out the rest of the remaining minutes of the contest.
“He’s had an ongoing shoulder issue. It’s just one of those things you deal with, but I think he will be okay,” said Roman.
Roman said the Senator defense played well, but was called on a few too many times against a Reno offense with plenty of big-play capability.
Carson held highly-touted Reno running back Drew Worthen to six carries of 10-plus yards as the senior tailback had four rushing touchdowns.
Senators hang tough through first half
It was a first half marred with penalties, most of which went against Reno, helping the Senator defense stall drives.
Reno got on the board first with 4:42 left in the opening quarter after Husky leading rusher Drew Worthen broke loose and ran down the Senator sideline 32 yards for a touchdown.
Worthen also had Reno’s only other score of the half as he went 71 yards to the house to make it 14-0 Reno with 10:28 left in the first half.
After Reno punched in its first touchdown, the Huskies opted for a quick onside kick, catching Carson off guard.
However, Carson’s defense responded with a fourth down stop and the offense put together its first productive drive.
A screen pass to Jonny Laplante and two handoffs to Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez moved Carson from its own 30-yard line to midfield.
On a second-and-2 from the Reno 44, Senator quarterback Will Breeding pulled the ball down and bolted a 22-yard run right up the middle.
Carson couldn’t finish the drive with points after a backwards run, a false start and two incomplete passes left the Senators with a fourth-and-18 from the Husky 30-yard line.
A Laplante pooch punt rolled into the end zone and Reno responded with its quick drive, which ended on a Worthen 71-yard touchdown scamper.
By the end of the first half, Reno had committed nine penalties for 95 yards.
UP NEXT: The Senators sit at 2-3 on the year and will enter Sierra League play next week when they travel to Galena (2-2) next Friday.