Former University of Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles' strategy was simple when protecting a lead. He would tell his team to "just hold onto the ball."
If the Carson High football team could just hold onto the ball, it's option attack this year could be something special. The major development from Friday's scrimmage against Spanish Springs at CHS for the Senators was they were able to run the ball on their veer option at will -- as long as they could hang onto the ball.
The other major development, though, was Nick Shine, Carson's leader on defense at linebacker, went down with a sprained ankle. While more won't be known until today, Carson coach Shane Quilling said Shine could be out for at least a couple of weeks.
"The best I've seen the option run since I've been here, hands down," said Shilling about Friday's performance.
But Carson also dropped four balls on the pitch when trying to run the option.
Mike Dittenber came in with the reputation as a "passing" quarterback, but based on his effort on Friday, Carson shouldn't be worried about his ability to run the option.
"Dittenber did some great things," Quilling said. "He ran the veer great. That was very impressive."
Another reason why Carson's option was so effective was the blocking of tight ends Shine, Brian Welch and John Stewart.
"We could have run the same play all night, they wouldn't have stopped it," Quilling said. "We moved the ball well.
"We could have scored three our four or five times if we wouldn't have stopped ourselves. Our worst enemy is ourselves. We're going to be all right. I saw a lot of great things."
Carson was able to score once -- the only touchdown scored by either team -- on its last series. Dittenber started the drive with a 7-yard pass to Mike Handley.
The drive was also highlighted by Ryan Sarkissian's 11-yard run and Handley's 15-yard run. That set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Dittenber to Handley on a beautiful fade pattern. Handley was able to make the catch despite being held.
But that was it for Carson's passing as before the last series, Dittenber was under constant pressure when trying to throw.
"We were not very good, but that's my fault," said Quilling about his team's pass blocking. "We just didn't do a very good job pass blocking. We've just got to get better up front."
On its first drive, Jared Wulff ran for 17 yards on the first play from scrimmage and Sarkissian followed with an 11-yard run on the second play, but the drive stalled. On Carson's next drive, Dittenber had a 32-yard run, but the play was called back by a penalty.
On the Senators' next drive, Aaron Holmes had runs of nine and 12 yards, but the drive was stopped by a fumble.
Holmes had 29 yards on three carries, Wulff gained 32 yards on four carries, Sarkissian had 23 yards on two carries, Danny Rotter gained 25 yards on two carries and Derek Shoaf added 22 yards on two carries.
Working with the second team offense against Spanish Springs' second team defense, quarterback Tyler Raponi gained 64 yards on five carries and Junior Witte gained 12 yards on two carries.
Witte was going to come in for Shine on the play he was injured, but the Carson coaches couldn't get him in on time and decided to wait until the next play.
"My heart stopped," said Quilling when he saw Shine go down. Otherwise, the scrimmage went well defensively, Quilling said.
In a goal line situation from the 10-yard line, Carson scored twice. Sarkissian scored on a 10-yard run and Handley caught another scoring pass from Dittenber on a fade pattern. Handley again was able to make the catch even though he was being held.