Carson football advances to regional finals
November 14, 2015
Big offensive plays.
Carson High made them, and the Reno Huskies had no answer.
Quarterback Joe Nelson hooked up with Connor Pradere for two big plays, including a 30-yard TD, and Asa Carter had a 53-yard TD catch and a 63-yard run which set up another score, as the Senators rolled into the regional finals for the third consecutive year thanks to a 27-17 win over Reno Friday night in the Division I regional football semifinals at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Carson, 10-1, meets 12-0 Reed Friday at 7 p.m. at Damonte Ranch for the right to represent northern Nevada in the state playoffs.
Carson rallied from deficits of 14-10 and 17-14 to grab the victory.
"That was the best game I've ever been involved with," Carson coach Blair Roman said. "Reno gained momentum, and we fought back.
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"I knew we would have trouble running the ball at times. We had to ge the passing game going. I think Joe (Nelson) showed the type of quarterback he was tonight. He hasn't really had a chance to do that much because we've had so much success running the ball."
It was too much for the Huskies to handle.
"Big plays," Reno coach Dan Avasino said. "We weren't explosive enough on offense to handle that, and to come back from that, especially without Lukas McKenzie (broken hand). We were still able to move the ball and so some things, but big plays were the difference."
Carson's big plays weren't limited to the offense. Carson had three interceptions. Abel Carter's fourth-quarter interception on a deflected ball led to Carson's final score, a 2-yard pass from Jace Keema to Asa Carter. And, Spencer Rogers put the icing on the proverbial cake with a pick on Reno's last series.
Nelson was at his best in the second half with the two TD passes. Unofficially, he went 12-for-20 passing for 231 yards.
His first TD pass, the 30-yarder to Pradere gave Carson a 14-10 lead, capping a 67-yard drive. The drive was kept alive by a 14-yard completion to Pradere on a third-and-7 play. On the TD pass, Nelson threw what appeared to be a back shoulder pass, and Pradere reached over the Reno defender to make the grab.
"He threw it up there and let me make the play," Pradere said.
"Connor is a good receiver, and he almost always comes down with the ball when I throw it up there," Nelson said.
Reno took the ensuing kick-off and drove 80 yards in 12 plays to regain the lead, 17-14, with 6:44 left in the contest.
The Huskies, who had been pounding the ball all night, went to a quick short-passing game. Isaac Terrasas completed a 37-yard pass to jump-start the possession, and then on a fourth-and-8 play from the Carson 39, he completed an 8-yarder to Will Barnard for a first down at the 31. Five plays later, Terrasas scored on an 8-yard run for a 17-14 lead.
The Senators showed their quick-strike prowess on the ensuing series.
On first down, Nelson hooked up with Gage Gunzberg for 19 yards up to the Carson 47. On the next play, Nelson fired a strike to a streaking Asa Carter, who broke loose for 53 yards and a score which gave CHS a 20-17 lead.
"They were working two safeties high, and on that play, there was only one safety high," Nelson said. "It was one safety trying to cover two receivers."
It was just another example of Carter making a big play as he's done all year.
"Asa is a special player; a special kid," Roman said. "He's a winner, and the type of kid people need in their program."
Reno drove into Carson territory on its next drive, but came away empty when Terrasas had his pass along the left sideline picked off by Abel Carter. The ball actually went off the helmet of Spencer Rogers, bounced high in the air, and was corralled by Abel Carter.
"I heard the guys on the sidelines yelling pass, and I saw the receiver's eyes and turned," Rogers said. "The ball hit my helmet and Abel got it."
Asa Carter broke loose on a 63-yard run on the next play, and then caught a short TD pass over the middle from Keema. The PAT made it 27-17 with 1:47 left.
"Coach Vega put that play in," Roman said. "It was a (Tim) Tebow jump pass."
Carson 27, RENO 17