RENO - When Reno High's John Rice broke off a 28-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, it was an omen of things to come.
The Huskies gashed Carson's interior defense for 298 yards, 163 by Brennan Rocker and 139 by Rice, en route to a 31-13 Sierra League win Thursday night at Foster Field.
The loss took Carson (2-4, 4-6) out of the playoff picture, while the Huskies (4-2 in league) finished second and will host a 4A playoff game next weekend.
"I knew they were a solid team," Carson coach Shane Quilling said. "They didn't do anything that we didn't expect. We weren't ready on that first drive.
"We didn't tackle well. Our inside linebackers didn't play very well, and they had played great the last five games."
Rice's run gave Reno a first down at the Carson 46, and the Huskies took 11 plays before the drive stalled at the Senators' 10. Thomas Vikre came on to kick a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:12 left in the opening quarter.
The Senators bounced back with their best drive of the game, going 80 yards in nine plays capped by Mitch Hammond's 23-yard pass to Will Holbert with 2:26 left. Hammond's PAT made it 7-3.
Several minutes later, Bryan Maffei's 16-yard punt return gave Carson excellent field position at the Reno 49. Carson moved the ball down to Reno's 30, but Maffei (18-80) was stopped a yard short on a third-and-1 play.
"That was huge," Quilling said. "We have a good defensive series and then a chance to go up 14-3 and we can't get a yard. It was frustrating."
That stop seemed to give Reno the momentum, and the Huskies took advantage of it. Runs of 7 and 22 yards by Rice gave the Huskies a first down at the Carson 40. Locker ripped off an 11-yarder to the 29 and Rice gained 14 more for a first down at the 13. Locker scored on the next play, the first of three scoring runs, to make it 10-7.
The last two weeks, the Senators had been able to score a key touchdown before the half. Not this week.
Carson punted the ball away with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half and the Huskies drove 65 yards on eight plays with Rice scoring from the 2 to give Reno a 17-7 lead with 22 seconds left. Rice's 29-yard run on a third-and-2 situation gave Reno a first down at the 2.
The second half was a disaster for Carson. Reno's front line, led by John Hume, took away the ground game, holding the Senators to 2 rushing yards.
"Their ends did a hell of a job," Quilling said. "They pinched really hard and completely took away the inside and outside veer. I wish we'd started throwing sooner. That's a good defense."
Only the passing of Hammond (16 of 22, 235 yards) kept Carson within striking distance.
After Locker scored on an 8-yard run midway through the fourth quarter, Hammond guided the Senators on a 10-play, 54-yard scoring drive. Travis Lamborn scored on a 2-yard run to make it 24-13 with 2:14 remaining.
Hammond was especially effective on the drive, completing 4 of 5 passes for 49 yards. The sophomore got a key first down with a 10-yard gain on a fourth-and-9 play.
Reno called for a fair catch on the ensuing kickoff and Carson was hit with a 15-yard penalty. Two plays later, Locker roared up the middle for a 53-yard TD run for the game's final score.
"We played very well," Reno coach Dan Avansino said. "Our defense, especially in the second half, was great. We took away their run and kept the ball out of 3's (Maffei) hands."
n Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281