Shorthanded Senators competitive in scrimmage |

Shorthanded Senators competitive in scrimmage

Dave Price

Considering the number of inactive players watching from the sidelines, perhaps the Carson High School football team was fortunate that this wasn’t a regular season game. It wasn’t, and all things considered, coach Shane Quilling felt the Senators accomplished what they needed to in their preseason scrimmage at home against the Spanish Springs Cougars on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re beat up right now,” Quilling said. “We had 10 guys who couldn’t play. We only had seven linemen, so those guys were all going both ways, and they (Spanish Springs) had three groups. If you stop and think about that, we did all right.

The primary objective was to get ready for their season, which opens this Friday night with a game against Southern Nevada 3A opponent Moapa Valley in Overton.

“I thought we did well with who we had playing today. We just didn’t have the guys we needed out there to play a good scrimmage,” Quilling said. “When we play a game next weekend, we’ll have plenty of people because everybody will be ready to play.”

One possible exception is senior lineman David Cadwallader, who has a strained MCL that could keep him sidelined until Carson’s Sept. 3 game against McQueen.

From an offensive standpoint in Saturday’s scrimmage, the Senators reached the end zone against Spanish Springs on their opening series and again on their last.

The first TD came when quarterback Kyle Bacon threw a 22-yard strike in the end zone to 6-foot-4 senior wideout Matt Moore. Among the highlights on the drive were two fourth-down conversions. Derek Shoaf broke a 10-yard run around right end to the 34 on the first. Then, on a fourth-and-3 play, Aaron Holmes busted inside for five yards to the 22. On the next play, Bacon and Moore hooked up on the touchdown pass.

Austin Watson, the team’s leading rusher last season, was limited to contact due to sore shoulder. He is expected to play against Moapa Valley.

“Watson could have played today, but we already know he can run the ball and we didn’t want to take a chance on not having him next week,” Quilling said.

Another running back who showed flashes of promise was Alex Martinez, who turned the corner on runs of 13 and 17 yards during Carson’s second possession. On that same drive, Holmes swept the right side for an 11-yard gain to the Spanish Springs 9.

The scrimmage concluded with goal line situations in which both teams were given four plays from the 20 and then four plays from the 10. Carson scored on its final play from the 10 when Holmes took a pitch from Bacon and ran around left end for a touchdown.

Bacon and Les Reddick are competing for the quarterback job. Both are seniors.

“They both did some good things today,” Quilling said. “Bacon might have a slight nod. We’ll watch some film and see what happens and go from there. It’s nice to have two guys to look at because we’ve only had one the last two years.”

On the defensive side, Martinez provided a highlight when he scooped up a fumble at the Carson 16. Even though the play was whistled dead, he had open field ahead and a convoy of teammates at the time of the recovery.

“I thought our inside backers played pretty well – Holmes, Shoaf and Mike Horrigan – we’re going to be pretty solid there,” Quilling said.

This was against a Spanish Springs squad that went 2-7 last year, but is primed to make a playoff run in the High Desert League this fall.

“This is probably the best Spanish Springs team I’ve seen in four years,” Quilling said. “They’re a pretty good team up front and the Kanellis kid might be one of the best backs in the whole state of Nevada.”

Mike Kanellis, who rushed for 884 yards and nine touchdowns last year, scored one of the Cougars’ four touchdowns on a 20-yard run.

“They’re pretty good offensively,” Quilling said of the Cougars. “They just run the (full house) T and it’s all misdirection. But we didn’t watch one film on them. We would have been better prepared if this had been a game, but we’re not going to spend a lot of time preparing for a team we don’t play.”

If Carson does play Spanish Springs in a game this year, it would have to be in the Northern 4A Regional playoffs, and Quilling certainly would have no problems with that. After all, the Senators finished 4-5 overall (3-3 Sierra League) and missed a trip to the playoffs.

“Getting back to the playoffs, that’s our No. 1 thing,” Quilling said. “Being out last year sucked. It bothered the kids, so hopefully we can get to that point.”

Contact Dave Price at or call 881-1220.