In terms of numbers, the Carson High School football team is not in a favorable position coming into its homecoming game tonight against North Valleys.
The Senators are 0-1 in Sierra League play (1-4 overall) and looking to climb into postseason contention coming into the 7:30 p.m. contest. But to do that, they'll need to win with a roster that has been depleted over the past two weeks due to various reasons, including injuries and disciplinary action. The list of starters gone for the season are running backs Austin Watson and Dereck Shoaf, linebacker Aaron Holmes, lineman Brian Welch and quarterback Les Reddick.
There was one bit of good news this week when senior quarterback Kyle Bacon was cleared to play after sustaining a cracked rib in a 26-0 loss against Reed last Friday.
"Bacon will play. It's cracked and his plays will be limited, but he will be out there," said Carson coach Shane Quilling, who added that sophomore Tony Roberts has been promoted from the JV team and will start at quarterback.
The Senators are also thin at the running back position with the loss of two starters, while Kevin Neugenauer is out this week due to a concussion. Senior Alex Martinez stepped into the starting lineup for the first time last week and rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries before he was knocked out of the game by a sprained ankle. Bryan Maffei also rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries. Junior Corde Armstrong will see time in the backfield and also start at linebacker. Sophomores Travis Lamborn and Rob Frederick have been brought up from the JV team to bolster the depth. Lamborn started at linebacker against Reed.
"We've faced some adversity the last couple of weeks. It's been a struggle, but the kids stepped up the other night (at Reed). I was proud of them," Quilling said.
Despite the adversity, Quilling emphasized that the Senators are in position to play themselves into the Northern 4A postseason.
"This is huge game for us. It's an opportunity to get back in the race a little bit," Quilling said. "Our next four games are against North Valleys, South Tahoe, Wooster and Reno, and those are all teams that we match up with talent-wise. We have a great opportunity here, and it all starts this weekend."
Despite their overall record, the Senators have lost three of their games to teams currently listed among Nevada's top 10 in the MaxPreps Power Ratings - No. 1 McQueen, No. 2 Reed and No. 9 Hug. The fourth loss was to No. 17 Moapa Valley.
"We've played three darn good teams; three of the better teams in the state," Quilling said.
North Valleys is in a similar situation, coming in at 1-1 in league and 1-3 overall, with losses to No. 4 ranked Bishop Manogue (55-7), No. 8 Douglas (35-9) and No. 10 Spanish Springs (44-20). The Panthers, who defeated Wooster (34-14) two weeks ago, also have the benefit of 18 returning starters from last year.
"They're a team that's had some struggles - they've played some tough teams, too - so it should be a good, tough game," Quilling said. "I think the team that executes will win the game."
Of interest, tonight's homecoming game will be a homecoming of sorts for North Valleys head coach Blair Roman, who formerly worked as an assistant at Carson. Roman moved over to take over to start the new program at North Valleys in 2001.
Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.