There are five Northern Nevada football teams unbeaten after four weeks of play, and the Hug Hawks are one of them.
If you had told anybody associated with local football the Hawks would have been 4-0 at this point, people would be ready to book you into the nut house.
Hug hired Carl LaGrone Jr. to run the team, and the Hawks are all of a sudden a new outfit.
Carson, coming off a 28-27 loss to Spanish Springs, hopes to snap Hug’s winning streak when the teams collide Friday at 7 p.m. in Reno assuming the smoke clears.
“They are off to a great start,” Carson coach Bair Roman said. “The biggest change is they are passionate when they are playing. They are the real deal. The kids are buying in, and it’s a great thing for Hug. The biggest differences I see are consistency on offense. I think they were a solid defensive team last year.”
Hug’s defense has been superb in beating Fernley (48-14), Bishop Manogue (20-6) and Douglas (20-14). The Hawks also have a walkover win against Yerington, a team it never should have had on its schedule. Roosevelt Calhoun, an all-region linebacker, is one of the top tacklers in Division I. Their defensive ends (Isaiah Clark and Henry Cook) are playing well, according to Roman. Hug is ranked first in team defense allowing just 34 points in three games and 147.3 yards per game.
On offense, the Hawks have moved the ball well thanks to the running of Calhoun (212 yards, 2 TDs), Jalan Williams (209 yards, 3 TDs) and Treci Blanton (72 yards) plus the play of quarterback Dekembe Montgomery (360 yards total offense).
“Hug is a team that likes to run the ball,” Roman said. “We need to take the run away and force them to throw the ball to beat us. Montgomery is super athletic and starts both ways like Nolan (Shine) does for us. They don’t throw the ball a lot. Montgomery can make plays with his feet. Calhoun is good; runs hard. Their tailbacks have good speed. We have been working a lot this week on gap control.”
Hug is an experienced team with 26 seniors.
Carson’s Connor Sievers (concussion) is lost for this game and probably the season. Conrad Franz is still sidelined from an earlier concussion, and his return is unknown. Seamus Burns (lacerated liver) has returned to practice, and should return next week for the Damonte Ranch game.
WHERE THEY RANK
Carson has several players in the top 10 in individual stat categories.
On offense, Colby Brown is No. 4 with 435 yards and four scores, the latter stat tying him for first place with four others. Nolan Shine is fifth in passing with 326 yards, but his completion percentage is just at 44 percent. Dilyn Rooker is No. 8 in receiving with five catches for 121 yards and two scores.
On defense, linebacker Ikela Lewis is No. 2 in tackles with 41, while Gabe Lobato is No. 8 with 36 and Brady Rivera is No. 10 with 32. Asa Carter leads in interceptions with four.