Quilling makes another position move
Whatever is best for the team.
Those were the words that Chance Quilling said he uttered when Carson coach Blair Roman told him that Matt Nolan was going to be the starting quarterback earlier this fall.
Those are probably the exact same words that he probably told coaches this week when he was moved from inside linebacker to outside linebacker in preparation for tonight’s home playoff opener against Damonte Ranch (7 p.m. kickoff).
Quilling has proven to be the ultimate team player, putting any personal success aside in favor of team success. Quilling is going back to a position he played last year.
Jim Franz, Carson’s defensive coordinator, explained the reason for the move so late in the season.
“We feel we get a better edge,” Franz said. “We’re moving Patrick Hesse to defensive end, and these moves get Sage Smith on the field (at weak inside linebacker). With (Austin) Pacheco and Chance on the outside it makes our defense better.”
Quilling finished the regular season with 65 tackles, which was down from last year. The reason is simple – he’s played a ton of offense this year compared to last year when he backed up Trey Jensen at quarterback and only got a handful of snaps on offense.
“It (linebacker) is fun,” Quilling said. “You can make more plays. Safety was fun, too. I like both of them. Playing (inside) linebacker has been good for me. I’ll play wherever they need me to.”
Roman and Franz consider him to be a huge factor and the emotional leader of the Carson defense.
“The biggest thing the last two years (2010 and 2011) is that he finds a way to make big plays,” Roman said. “He makes big plays when we need them. He seems to energize the whole team.”
“He just seems to be around the ball all the time,” Franz said. “He has good instincts for the ball.”
Quilling showed those instincts earlier this year in the 27-24 win over Bishop Manogue. Although teammate Pacheco garnered the headlines with his game-winning 64-yard field goal, Quilling played a huge role in that game on both sides of the ball.
He intercepted two passes, recorded a sack, had 11 tackles and he threw a 22-yard TD pass.
“That was a fun game, ” Quilling said. Games are always fun when your team wins and you play a big role.
Trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, Quilling started to blitz from the right side, stopped, and jumped up in the air to bat T.J. Menning’s pass up in the air. Quilling quickly turned around and caught the ball. The pick led to a Pacheco field goal, cutting the deficit to 10-3.
“I was supposed to be blitzing,” Quilling said. “He (Menning) called an audible, and I knew what the play was because he’d called it before. I got my hands up in the air, and the ball went to the left and I was able to find it.”
Roman said after the thrilling win that Quilling’s pick turned the momentum to the Senators.
Quilling came up with another pick, also on a tipped ball. This one he didn’t have to find because the ball came right to him. The 22-yard halfback option TD pass gave Carson a 17-10 lead at the half.
Quilling admits, and Roman confirmed, that Quilling plays with a little bit of a nasty side. It has cost him some penalties in the last two years, and this year it led to two unsportsmanlike penalties against Spanish Springs and an ejection which forced him to miss the Galena game.
Quilling admits he deserved the first penalty, but not the second, which came after he scored a touchdown.
“I don’t know why,” Quilling said. “I get pretty emotional during the games. The first one was on Austin’s (TD) punt return. I was jawing with one of the (Spanish Springs) players. The second one the official said I cussed. Aaron (Spurlock) and Logan (Peternell) were right there. The ref said it was taunting.”
Quilling wasn’t even allowed to attend the game two weeks ago, and he admitted that made the suspension doubly worse. He got a few text messages from friends about the game and spent the night watching television.
Upon return, he admitted he felt like he had to prove himself (to coaches and teammates) all over again. He had two tackles in the first four plays, and also scored the Senators’ first touchdowns. He would go on to score twice in the win over the Huskies, capping Carson’s undefeated league season.
When practice started in August, Quilling was expected to be the Senators’ starting quarterback. He didn’t play the first half against Highland because of disciplinary reasons, giving way to Nolan. Roman decided a few days later to have Nolan under center.
“I was kind of disappointed,” Quilling admitted. “Whatever was best for the team. I’ll go as hard as I can and do the best that I can. I didn’t really feel the pressure at all (playing quarterback). I knew what I was getting into.”
Roman was impressed with how Quilling handled things.
“He did show a lot of class,” Roman said. “Any kid would have to be disappointed. We had a 15-minute talk. We were trying to get Matt and Chance in the lineup at the same time, and by the end of the talk he understood. You could see the light bulb go on.
“The move has paid big dividends for us. He has made some big plays at running back for us. He’s one of the best running backs in the north.”
Indeed. Quilling has accounted for 514 yards offense and nine scores (7 rushing, 1 passing, 1 receiving).
“I pretty much knew the plays; what everybody else should be doing,” Quilling said. “There were a few plays I didn’t know and I had to ask. It took about a week.
“It’s fun. I like it a lot. You have contact on every play (running and blocking) and I like that. I’m comfortable there.”
Passing: 4 for 12 49 yards 1 TD
Rushing: 46 carries, 343 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: 17 catches, 222 yards, 1 TD
Fumble recoveries: 2
Pass deflections: 3