By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
RENO - It's just surreal what has happened to the Carson High football team over the past couple of years.
And it didn't end on Friday night with the Senators losing at Hug 43-7. But what was on the scoreboard was the least of Carson's concerns when the most surreal of moments happened as Johnny Hazeltine was injured early in the fourth quarter.
Hazeltine was motionless on his back and was taken away in an ambulance as a precaution. Hazeltine felt numbness in the back of his neck and tingling in his arms, but could still move his legs and hands, Carson coach Shane Quilling said. "Frank thinks he's going to be OK," said Quilling, referring to trainer Frank Sakelarios.
A Care Flight helicopter was flown onto the field, causing a delay of about 30 minutes, but Hazeltine was eventually taken away in an ambulance.
Hazeltine's injury was just the culmination of much adversity Carson had to deal with this week, which began with a season-ending injury to quarterback Chris McBroom, who needed surgery that left a 20-inch scar to deal with swelling in his right leg.
After all the adversity this week, Carson was left with just 24 players and was down to 23 after the injury to Hazeltine.
"It's like a syndrome at Carson," said Quilling, commenting on the adversity that his program has faced. "I don't know what it is."
Without McBroom, Hug was able to key on the state's leading rusher on the 4A level in Bryan Maffei, who came into the game with 808 yards on 87 carries for a 9.3 yard average. Maffei gained 108 yards on 20 carries, with 52 yards coming on his only big run of the night. Maffei sat out almost the whole fourth quarter after Hazeltine's injury.
"They were dominant up front both sides of the ball," said Quilling about Hug. "They played nine guys in the box. We were offensively limited."
Tony Roberts filled in admirably for McBroom and was able to complete two passes, one of 10 yards to Scott Witter and the other for 14 yards to Jason Dittenber. Mitch Hammond was brought up from the junior varsity to back up Roberts and showed his ability when he completed an 18-yard pass to Ryan Eichenberger after coming into the game after Hazeltine's injury.
The presence of Hammond gives Carson another option as he could stay at quarterback and Roberts could be moved to running back.
Hug struck first, scoring on a 10-yard pass from Darryl Feemster to Chris McKinish to make it 7-0. Carson was able to tie the score on Travis Lamborn's 55-yard scoring run and Hazeltine kicked the extra point to make it 7-7.
Carson's defense put on a valiant goal line stand on Hug's next drive, stopping Darren Shepherd just shy of the goal line on fourth down. But on Carson's first play after it took over, Maffei was tackled in the end zone for a safety, giving Hug a 9-7 lead.
On Hug's ensuing possession, Ryan Jesse intercepted a pass at the Carson 27. But Carson went three and out and after a 10 yard punt, Hug received the ball at the Carson 40-yard line. That set up Feemster's 1-yard run that made it 16-7.
Carson went three-and-out on the ensuing series, and after a 12-yard punt, Hug received the ball at the Carson 37. That set up Shepherd's 11-yard scoring run to give Hug a 23-7 halftime lead.
Viliami Pahulu scored on a 46-yard run and Feemster completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Royce Rowe to make it 36-7. After Hazeltine's injury, Ron Johnson scored on a 72-yard run to finish the scoring.
"The kids went hard," Quilling said. "They gave us their best effort."
n Contact Charles Whisnand at email@example.com or 881-1214.