This was not the way the Carson High football team wanted to begin the season.
"Ugly night," said Carson coach Shane Quilling after his team was beaten by Moapa Valley 35-10 on Friday in Overton. "We just didn't play well."
The Senators were up against a team that's expected to win the state 3A title after returning a strong nucleus from last year's squad that finished the regular season 9-0. Moapa Valley also has a much heralded star in Zach Davis and he showed why against the Senators.
Davis, who's received attention from such schools as BYU and UNLV, scored four touchdowns, two on touchdown catches of 60 and 41 yards, and another on a 95-yard kickoff return to begin the second half that was the turning point of the game. Davis also scored on a 16-yard run, kicked a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter, and every one of his kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.
"He's pretty phenomenol," Quilling said. "A very, very good athlete. Best athlete on the field without a doubt. He's a game-breaker without a doubt."
Still, Quilling said the loss had to do more with his team than with Moapa Valley. Carson had three passes intercepted and one fumble for four turnovers.
"They're a good 3A team, but it was us, it wasn't them," Quilling said. "We're our worst enemy. We just didn't take care of the ball."
Carson began the game by shoving right down Moapa Valley's throat, driving 70 yards, but turned the ball over on a fumble. The Pirates went on to take a 9-0 lead after one quarter.
But the Senators came back to take a 10-9 halftime lead on Derek Shoaf's 78-yard fumble return for a touchdown and Matt Mitchell's 31-yard field goal. Carson also held out four players in the first half due to discipline reasons and Quilling thought his team was in good shape. "We were just trying to hang in in the first half," he said.
But Davis scored on the second half's opening kickoff. "That kind of set the tone right there," Quilling said.
The Pirates scored 20 points in the third quarter to take a 29-10 lead. "We just didn't play in the third quarter," Quilling said.
"They were a beatable team. We were disappointed and I think the kids were. too. It was just our not executing in all three phases of the game. We've just got to get better."
Austin Watson gained 60 yards on nine carries, Aaron Holmes had 46 yards on 10 carries and Les Reddick completed eight passes for 56 yards for Carson. Davis finished with five catches for 154 yards.