Rivalry: 76th renewal for Douglas vs. Carson
Football rivalries are something special. When it comes to high school football in Nevada, however, there is something extra special when the Douglas Tigers and Carson Senators get together.
First of all, it’s the oldest rivalry, dating back to 1923. Second, there is a matter of bragging rights for the neighboring communities that share common interests, including players and coaches who know each other well and even have family ties.
There will even be a playoff berth at stake tonight in the 76th renewal when Douglas (0-3 Sierra League, 2-7 overall) hosts Carson (0-3, 3-5) in the final regular season game for both teams. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Keith Roman Field.
Oh, and by the way, there is now a 4-foot tall trophy at stake, simply known as “The Rivalry Trophy.” The trophy consists of a refurbished mining cart with a silver metal plaque in the shape of Nevada, complete with Douglas Tigers and Carson Senators emblems.
“People always ask what the Douglas vs. Carson rivalry is called and what it means to our programs,” Douglas coach Monfiletto said in July after the trophy was unveiled. “Coach (Blair) Roman and I always answer, “It’s The Rivalry!” Nothing else needs to be said. There’s nothing like a watching these two programs square off on a Friday night.”
Of interest, Blair Roman played quarterback for the Tigers in the 1980s and the Douglas field is named for his father.
Jack Overton, a senior wide receiver, explained that he has literally grown up knowing Douglas-Carson as a rivalry.
“The Carson rivalry being the oldest rivalry in Nevada, it translates all the way through all the programs from high school into Pop Warner,” he said. “I’ve played Pop Warner since I was 5 so the Carson rivalry has always been a really big thing to me. There’s definitely that different level of intensity during the Carson game than in any other game … on both sides of the ball.”
Senior defensive lineman Zach Romero added: “Growing up playing Pop Warner, the rivalry is the biggest thing I look forward to playing every year. It’s just like the best week for me.”
There are playoff implications for this game, as well. The winner advances to the Northern 4A Region playoffs as the league’s No. 4 and the loser will close the book on its season. Then again, like any good rivalry game, season records don’t mean a thing.
“We could be 0-9 and they could be 9-0 and we’re going to do whatever we can to win that game,” Douglas senior tailback Dakota Lowden said.
Senior linebacker Jayden Foster added: “It’s a totally different mindset. We’re going to go out there expecting to win.”
Monfiletto, who is in his sixth season as head football coach and 22nd season overall at Douglas, threw in a simple math equation.
“What matters at this point is being 1-0,” he said. “Our kids are excited about the opportunity to get after Carson and we have a lot to live up to. You know, it’s been 365 days since we beat them so with that new trophy, we’d like to hold on to it.”
Douglas has possession of “The Rivalry Trophy” by virtue of its 31-17 win at Carson last year. Senior defensive end Austin Aiken played a key role for the Tigers during a goal line stand early in the fourth quarter when they were protecting a 24-17 lead.
“I remember last year walking out there for my first varsity Carson game, I just saw red the whole game,” Aiken said. “I was ready to go and it was a complete different intensity … I mean, it was non-stop.”
Adding to that intensity is the fact that some players from both sides spend time together off-campus and during the offseason, either working at the same job or playing on teams together.
“I play baseball so I know a bunch of those guys and I’m really good friends with them,” Foster said. “I used to play travel ball with some of them and I still have good relationships with them … but I hate them on the field and love them off it. It definitely sets an edge; it makes you want it a little bit more … just so for the following year you can talk smack and be able to back it up as far as bragging rights.”
It’s more than that, Lowden emphasized.
“We just want to go out and make sure that’s the one game we win,” he said. “That’s our job, to beat Carson.”