Win and get some help.
That's the position Carson High's football team finds itself in heading into tonight's regular-season finale against the Reno Huskies at Reno High.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
It was originally thought that if Carson won its last three games it would get the fourth and final playoff slot. Now, the only way Carson (2-3, 4-5) can get into the playoffs is if the Senators knock off Reno (3-2 league), and Wooster beats Douglas.
Here's a brief look at the various playoff scenarios, according to NevadaPrep.com:
n A Reno loss to Carson would leave the Huskies in a three-way tie with Carson and the Douglas-Wooster winner for third place. In a three-way tie with Wooster and Reno, Carson would get the No. 3 seed by virtue of having beaten Reno and Wooster. The fourth spot would go to Wooster because the Colts beat Reno 6-3.
n If Carson, Reno and Douglas wind up at 3-3, the teams will have split games with each other, and the point-differential tie-breaker would be enforced. In that scenario, no team can get more than 13 points for a win or loss. Reno is a plus-13, Douglas is at zero and Carson is a minus-13. A Carson win by 13 or more puts all three teams at zero.
n The next procedure awards a point for each victory by its defeated opponents. Reno would have the edge because it beat North Valleys 52-42. That knocks it down to a head-to-head tie between Douglas and Carson, and Douglas advances based on its win over Carson.
"I understand that we could play well and win and still be out," Carson coach Shane Quilling said. "It's our own fault. We gave away the North Valleys game. It's inexcusable. The better team didn't win that night.
"The only thing we can do is go out there and see what happens. If Wooster wins, they will be in. They have a lot to play for."
A victory would put Carson at 5-5, which isn't bad for a team that has gone through turmoil this season. The team has used three different quarterbacks, three kickers and will be working with its third punter tonight. And, to top that off, a few players quit the team.
"It would be huge (to get to .500)," Quilling said. "Losing our quarterback, going to our backup quarterback and losing the backup quarterback, and we're on our third kicker. We lost our second punter this week (Steve Sawyers)."
The Senators enter the game coming off their second straight outstanding defensive effort, and they face a big test in the Reno offense, which is led by quarterback John Dankworth (56 for 115, 1,039 yards, 10 TDs), running back Brennan Locker (101-568-8 TDs), tight end Daniel Knapp (2 TDs last week) and wide receiver Anthony Brown (14-262).
"We've been playing pretty god defense the last three weeks," Quilling said. "In the past few years, they have handled us up front. We've had a couple of kids just as good, but we haven't had four or five guys.
"Dankworth throws the ball well. The running backs are good, but no better than what we've seen all year."
Carson has some strength up front with Zach Taylor (6-5, 245), Eric Walther (6-2, 230) and Jonas Schenzel (6-3, 190).
Much of Carson's offensive success will hinge on the decision-making of sophomore quarterback Mitch Hammond and whether Bryan Maffei can have another big night.
"They run mostly a 4-4, and sometimes they will walk up a linebacker to the tight end's side," Quilling said. "They stunted a lot last year and I expect them to do it again. They could be in trouble if they miss. We have guys that make big plays (Maffei, Travis Lamborn, Kyle Banko)."
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281