Senators looking to stay alive
Appeal Sports Writer
The Carson Senators football team may be feeling like a Top 40 radio station, because the hits just keep on coming.
The already beat-up Senators lost two more players this week as they prepare to meet North Valleys tonight in a Sierra League battle to stay in the race for the Northern 4A playoffs.
Sophomore running back Mark Sinnott, who ran for 169 yards on 31 carries in a 20-18 loss to Damonte Ranch last week, suffered a broken collarbone on the last play of the game and is gone for the season.
Also out this week is starting tight end and defensive end Blake Davidson. Davidson suffered an injured groin muscle while lifting weights.
“Losing Sinnott is a big loss,” said Carson coach Shane Quilling, who could only shake his head and offer a rueful smile when talking of his team’s mounting injuries. “He’s one of the kids that have played well the last few weeks. The speed factor – he’s got it. He’s had about 250 yards the last two games.
“Davidson is the most consistent player we’ve got. He caught three passes last week – it’s a huge frickin’ loss.”
Quilling said he’s bringing up Luke Carter from the junior varsity squad to put in the backfield with junior Maciek Kuroczka.
Sinnott was playing in place of Chris McBroom, now starting at quarterback for the injured Mitch Hammond. Hammond suffered a concussion against Hug two weeks ago and will be a game-time decision.
Carson and North Valleys have identical 2-3 records in the Sierra League (the Senators are 2-6 overall, the Panthers 3-5) and the winner of tonight’s game statys in the hunt for the No. 4 spot and automatic playoff berth.
Wooster and South Tahoe are 1-4 and out of the hunt, both having lost to Carson. And if Damonte Ranch (2-3) loses to first-place Reno (5-0) and then to the Vikings at South Tahoe, the Senators would be in the postseason, even with a loss next week against Douglas (4-1).
South Tahoe is steadily improving and owns a 21-20 home win over North Valleys.
Another, tougher playoff scenario for the Senators is having to beat North Valleys and Douglas, with Reno beating Damonte Ranch.
All of that will be a moot point, however, if the Senators can’t find a way to get by the Panthers tonight.
North Valleys, which lost to Douglas 45-3 last week, has a big question mark looming over standout running back Chris Castellanos, who leads the Northern 4A with 1,464 rushing and 13 touchdowns.
Castellanos, who averages 8.32 yards per carry, left last week’s game in the first quarter with an Achilles’ tendon injury of unknown severity. His status remains unknown.
“If he does play, he’s been touching the ball 30 times a game,” Quilling said of Castellanos, who gained 306 yards in a 34-9 win over Wooster two weeks ago. “Without him, they are a different team. They don’t have that kind of speed and athleticism. He’s a hard runner. He can sweep outside with his speed or get the tough yards inside.”
North Valleys, like Carson, is primarily a running team and leads the North with 1,813 yards rushing overall. Carson is second, with 1,735, just ahead of Spanish Springs (1,720) and McQueen (1,703).
Junior quarterback Will Bell is 19-of-63 for 219 yards passing for North Valleys. He has thrown one touchdown and two interceptions. Corey Gorges leads the team with 12 receptions for 95 yards. Castellanos has picked up 144 yards on seven receptions.
The Panthers have given up 2,415 yards – third most in the North.
Although it lost to Damonte Ranch – mainly because of its seven turnovers – Carson dominated the Mustangs offensively, picking up 319 yards, while the Senators’ defense pretty much stifled Damonte’s attack.
“We gave away an 80-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and another fumble inside our 15,” Quilling said. “When you hold a team to less than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing, you expect to win.
“The defense played awesome. We held them to 92 yards passing and 90 rushing. Considering the adversity they faced (with the turnovers), they could’ve given up two or three more scores.”
In his first action under center since his sophomore year, McBroom, now a senior, completed 6-of-11 passes for 81 yards. He also ranks 10th in the North with 520 yards rushing, with five touchdowns.
“For being thrown in there and not being in there for a long time, he did a lot of great things,” Quilling said of McBroom. “He did well under pressure. He did well for not getting reps. He should be better this week after another week of practice. We’re going to try a few new things. In the past, North Valleys has played us tough on the option.”
The Panthers beat Carson, 30-14, last year, but the Senators hold a 3-2 edge in the young series.
“We had another great week of practice,” Quilling said. “The kids haven’t been down. They’re disappointed like us (coaches), but we’ll be in the game. Will we win? I don’t know. But we’ve gotta score – if we can do that, we can win.
“We’re going to take care of business and get ready for Douglas. I’m not worried about that. We’re always ready for that. It’s a big game.”
Carson’s game with the Panthers at North Valleys High School begins at 7:30 p.m.