Carson High football coach Shane Quilling isn't one for moral victories, but the Northern 4A season is almost half over and that's all the first-year coach has right now.
On homecoming night on Friday at Carson High, Reno played a second half that can only be described as utter dominance as it held on for a 21-14 win over the Senators.
Carson (0-4, 0-2) ran only 11 plays in the second half, six of them in its final drive of the game, which was ended after quarterback Scott O'rien's had his pass intercepted by the Huskies' Brady Dolan. The Senators had only 21 yards of total offense in the second half after matching the high-scoring Reno offense play for play in the first half.
"This was a very winnable game and we played well enough to win in the first half," Quilling said. "And we got better tonight, but we never had the ball in the second half, so we didn't have much of a chance to score."
So after the game, it was all too familiar a scene for Quilling, who's still searching for his first win at Carson. Other than Elko, the Senators have gone up against decent opponents, but because of thing or another, the Senators just couldn't get it done.
"They were just more physical than us up front and it hurts not having our inside linebacker," said Quilling about sophomore Nick Shine, who missed his second straight game with a neck injury. "We just couldn't stop them."
Most of the scoring for both teams was in the first half. The Huskies' Nate Dolan and Travis Longobardo, who rushed for a game-high 127 yards, each ran for short touchdowns, while Carson's Chris Barredo converted field goals of 40 and 49 yards. Then the Senators' Chris Kotter broke out for a 27-yard touchdown later in the second quarter, which, after a successful two-point conversion, tied the game at 14.
Then it happened.
Reno came out in the second half and ran 15 consecutive plays, all of them rushing. The Huskies (4-0, 2-0)marched 72 yards down the field and it wasn't until quarterback Brandon Bishop-Parise was sacked by Rodney Black on fourth and 9 at the Carson 12, that they were stopped.
But it didn't matter. Reno had already won the battle of the line.
So after Carson went three and out, the Huskies went 50 yards on six plays, capped off by Bishop-Parise' 16-yard pass to Barrett Evans, which proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
Carson just didn't have an answer on offense. The Senators had only four plays from scrimmage in the third quarter and only two first downs in the second half.
"I didn't really expect them to come out and just own us like they did," Quilling said. "We stopped them in them in the first half and were moving the ball well. And their running backs weren't that fast, but their offensive line just owned our defensive line. Just owned us."
After Reno's Chuck Goodnight missed a 37-yard field goal attempt late in the game, Carson had one last chance to score.
Starting from their own 20, the Senators went only 11 yards in 1:41 after O'Brien rushed three times for four yards and completed one pass to Kotter for seven yards, before his interception ended the game. O'Brien completed 3-of-9 passes for 27 yards in the game while Josh Carter rushed for 60 yards. Kotter had 43 yards rushing.
"Even when we did get the ball in the second half, we were scrambling," Quilling said.
Carson travels to South Lake Tahoe next Saturday for a game against the Vikings, who are also winless in the Sierra League.