It's no secret that the Carson High football team hasn't done well in recent years, and it seems that the blame for our sub-par record is being placed solely on the shoulders of our head coach, Shane Quilling. We as players, being involved in both the school and the community, have heard a lot of criticism from both our peers and parents alike.
It seems as though everyone has the answer. It's easy to point out flaws in a football program when you're sitting comfortably in the stands. What parents aren't taking into consideration is the fact that coach Quilling is with us everyday throughout the year. Parents don't understand that Quilling has been involved with football for the better part of his life.
Parents are quick to criticize the Veer offense that coach Quilling brought with him to Nevada, when in fact he has had great success with the exact same offense at other schools. He helped lead Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah, to a dominating state championship, running the same offense he has Carson High running right now.
We as players feel the problem lies, not in the coaches, but rather in the community as a whole. Carson High School has more than 2,500 students and has a mere 26 football players on its varsity team. Compare this to other top programs in the area. McQueen High has winning seasons every year and has more than 50 players on the varsity team. Douglas High School has also been having successful seasons and they too have almost twice the players Carson does. The fact that Carson has had a problem with a lack of players goes back further than Quilling's time as head coach. We feel that the problem is parents allowing their kids to quit the football program. Freshmen football teams at Carson generally start with 50 plus players, and by the time their senior year comes around, that number has dropped to under 15. Kids come home to their parents complaining about no playing time and how hard practice is, and their parents often suggest that they simply quit the team, when they should be encouraging their child to work harder and earn a starting spot.
Coach Quilling often tells us, "Football is a game of life, and if football is the hardest thing you're going to do in life, then life is going to be pretty rough."
Take the example of star running back Bryan Maffei. Bryan started out his freshman year as one of the smallest players on the team, and after much encouragement from his parents, and four years of hard work, earned a starting spot on the team. No coach can turn out a successful season with 20 some odd varsity players. Coach Quilling has had to go as far as pulling up 8 sophomores from JV team so we have enough bodies to run a regular practice.
We often hear that kids are quitting the team because of the actions of the coach, when in fact, this is not true. We as players personally know the kids who quit. Their reasons for quitting are not because of what the coaches are doing, but rather their own personal agenda. The kind of kids that are quitting the team are the kids that would rather drink on weekends than play football games. These kids hurt the team rather than help it. The kids that the team does have are good kids, a core group of players that have bought into coach Quilling's program.
Although we do only have 26 players on varsity, we feel, and have shown that we can play with any team in Nevada. We have shown that, when executed correctly, the Veer offense works very well. We also feel that if we didn't have to count on eight players playing both offense, defense and most special teams, that we could run the Veer even more successfully.
Coach Quilling is more than just a coach to us. He is a positive role model that we as players spend more time with then our own parents. He has personally gone above and beyond the duties of a high school coach. Thanks to the help of coach Quilling, all four of our captains are going on to high level colleges next year. He has taught us lessons about life and has given us motivation to stay out of trouble. He pushes all of his players to reach their maximum potential. He is with us and has an influence on our lives, not only during football season but throughout the year. Quilling has had an impact and made a difference in all of our lives.
If Carson High decides to let coach Quilling go after this season, we feel that it will be a mistake, and it will be a loss to the whole community. We want this to be a wake-up call to the community and, more importantly, to the parents. Parents need to be proactive in the lives of their children. To encourage their kids to stick with football and to help them in earning a starting spot. We think the community needs a new attitude towards high school football.
And most of all, we feel that even with a new coach, the same problems will be apparent in the future. We feel that the answer is not in the coaching but in the parenting.
Eric Walther, Scott Witter, Jason
Dittenber and Zach Taylor
Carson High football captains