Senators, Grizzlies searching for first win |

Senators, Grizzlies searching for first win

Dave Price

Some common threads link the Carson and Galena high school football teams coming into their contest tonight in Reno.

For one, both teams are looking to break into the win column for the first time. For another, both will be trying to eliminate mistakes that have hurt them in losses the last two weeks. And for another, tonight will mark one more test for the Senators and Grizzlies before their respective Sierra League and High Desert League openers next week.

Needless to say, there will be no lack for incentive when the two teams line up for their 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

“We’re both 0-2, so there is a sense of urgency to win, especially with league starting next week against Hug,” Carson coach Shane Quilling said. “The Hug game has been huge for us the last two years, and it’s going to be huge this time, too. But first, we need to take care of business with Galena.”

Galena is 0-2 after losing 36-0 at South Tahoe and 14-3 last Friday against defending state champion Reno. Looking ahead on the schedule, Galena visits Douglas for a nonconference game next week and then begins league play Sept. 24 at Spanish Springs.

“They’re very physical up front and they fly to the ball,” Quilling said of the Grizzlies. “They played well enough to beat Reno last week. Reno had a blocked punt and intercepted pass to set up two short drives, otherwise Galena outplayed them.”

Specifically, Carson’s offensive unit is looking to punch the ball into the end zone for the first time after losing 35-10 against Moapa Valley and 26-0 against McQueen last Friday night. Mitchell Moore’s 31-yard field goal and a 78-yard fumble return on defense by Derek Shoaf.

“We just haven’t executed in the red zone,” Quilling said. “We’re not going to change anything offensively. We had a limited game plan last week, and we ran the game plan well, we just didn’t get the ball in the end zone.”

The Senators drove inside the 20 twice and got as far as the 31 on their opening series against McQueen. The result was a 47-yard field goal attempt that narrowly missed wide to the left, a 31-yard attempt that was blocked and a fourth-down pass from the 9 that was intercepted and returned 90 yards for a touchdown (the score was nullified by a penalty).

There is some good news for the Senators. Senior Kyle Bacon, who was touted as the starting quarterback before sustaining a flexor injury before the Moapa Valley game, is ready to play again. Les Reddick will still start at quarterback, but Bacon is expected to see action.

“It’s nice getting Kyle back,” Quilling said. “This gives us a chance to open up our offense more. We still haven’t run any option yet because we only had one quarterback and we didn’t want to risk any injuries.”

Carson has been able to run the ball effectively in its first two games, considering Austin Watson has rushed for 124 yards on 27 carries (4.59 yards per carry) and Shoaf has rushed for 96 yards on 14 carries (6.85 average). Galena’s defensive unit will very likely remember being burned in Carson City last September when Watson rushed for 202 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 65 and 20 yards in a game the Senators won 28-3.

Shoaf rushed for 79 yards in the first half against McQueen, but he was limited to strictly defense in the second half after he experienced leg cramps. The senior still played well enough from his inside linebacker position to earn the team’s defensive player of the game award.

“He was all over the field,” Quilling said of Shoaf, who was credited with 13 tackles and four assists.

Carson’s offensive player of the game was junior center Eric Walther.

“Eric did a great job,” Quilling said. “The (McQueen) nose guard outweighed him by about 50 pounds, the Eric pretty much kept the kid in check.”

Senior offensive guard will probably be sidelined tonight due to a shoulder injury. Zack Taylor will switch from tackle to fill the opening and Mike Horrigan will move into the lineup at tackle, according to Quilling.

Contact Dave Price at or call 881-1214