Carson and Dayton high schools officially kicked off the 2014 football season on Saturday.
At Carson Middle School, it was a sea of blue as CHS players at all three levels participated in conditioning runs. Carson was at CMS because of the Sierra Youth Football League Experience which took up every available inch at CHS. Coach Blair Roman estimated tmore than 100 players at all three levels, varsity, JV and frosh, were on hand. He expects to have 150 total in the program once school starts a week from Monday.
Carson is coming off its fourth shared or outright title in the past five years. Roman has had just two losing seasons in his previous six years as head coach.
Saturday’s workout was part of heat acclimation week which was instituted by the NIAA three years ago. It essentially gives teams a few extra days of non-padded workouts. Carson’s first official practice is Monday, and it will put on helmets on Thursday. Full padded workouts will start on Aug. 18, the first day of school.
“This (the few days) give us a chance to see what kind of condition we are in,” Roman said. “Our injuries have been relative because of the conditioning the kids go through. We’ve won (a lot) of games in the fourth quarter, and our conditioning is indicative of that. The kids are buying into the program, and doing a good job.
“We expect them to be individually motivated to be in shape. The summer program in July makes it so we don’t have to do two a days. We feel that’s what July is for. That is our double days. When we start up in August, our No. 1 priority is conditioning.”
After a scrimmage on the 23rd, Roman & Co. have a daunting task ahead of them in Clayton Valley Charter. The teams collide on Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. at Del Oro High School. Roman said he has had a chance to see plenty of film on the Ugly Eagles, who are a power running team.
Miles Harrison rushed for 2,020 yards last year and 34 TDs in helping Clayton Valley to a 5-0 league record and 11-2 overall mark. Clayton Valley averaged more than 320 yards rushing and 86 passing. On paper, it will be a huge test for the Carson defense.
Dayton varsity on the field
At the ungodly time of 7:32 a.m., head coach Rob Turner and assistant Kay Berntson officially got practice started.
Turner estimates he will have 28 varsity players, and 18 of those are seniors.
“It went fine,” he said. “We didn’t do that much. We had such a good turnout in the off-season, we don’t have to do a lot of conditioning. I’ve never been a fan of two-a-days. Once a kid starts to get tired, they stop learning. The next three days is to get the kids that weren’t here over the summer up to speed in terms of conditioning and knowledge of our system.”
Turner is fortunate enough to have some solid returnees in Skyler Berntson, (213 scrimmage yards, 32 tackles) quarterback Davis Winebarger (940 yards, 9 TDs), Dallon Mendoza (9 catches, 143 yards), Julio Meza (14 catches, 382 yards, 5 TDs) and two-way lineman Jesus Castaneda (27 tackles). That gives him a pretty good base to build from.
The team does lack size, however.
“When I ordered t-shirts, I ordered a lot of mediums,” Turner said, laughing.
Size isn’t everything. Strength and technique make up for size in most cases.
Turner said preparations have already begun for the home opener on Aug. 29 against Lovelock.
“It’s a good first game for us every year,” Turner said. “They lost a lot (of seniors), but they are a good program and I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff. When we were going over blocking techniques today we were talking about blocking schemes.”