BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO " There were two striking things about the Carson football team as it headed out toward its scrimmage with the Panthers at North Valleys High School on Saturday.
The first was how long the line of players was. In contrast with last season's scrimmage with Manogue, when many of the Senators were out with injuries or the flu, Carson walked onto the field 50 strong.
The second was more heard than seen, with shouts of "Yeah, suckas" interspersed with fired-up whoops and war cries, which made the Panthers seem silent by comparison.
But the most striking thing of all was the hitting on the field, as the Carson defense held North Valleys to its only two scores late in the scrimmage. The Senators offense put up five touchdowns as each of its three squads found a way to get into the end zone.
"I'm real pleased with the emotion of the team," said first-year Carson head coach Blair Roman. "Our No. 1 goal is to show they can play at a high level of intensity and emotion. They hadn't hit another team since November. I think it showed."
With the Carson defense keeping the Panthers at bay, the Senators offense unveiled the Pistol formation, the brainchild of Nevada Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault. Junior quarterback Josh Peacock, who will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Blake Plattsmier, found Robert Figueroa in the end zone to cap a 10-play drive for Carson's first score.
"We purposely didn't show some plays we're going to do in a game that counts next Friday (in the season-opener against Spanish Springs)," Roman said of the variations of the Pistol. "You'll see a couple more wrinkles than you did today. We didn't prepare for them " we've been preparing for Spanish Springs. North Valleys runs a different front."
The Senators responded to adversity early, when the Panthers notched a pickoff following a bobbled catch on the Senators' initial drive.
"The biggest thing I was pleased with was happened following the interception on the first possession," Roman said. "The kids didn't fall apart. They stayed poised. The problems didn't keep going. They gathered themselves. I'm pleased how we moved the ball after that."
Senior Jake Madden took it in from three yards out for Carson's second score. Roman said that Madden would likely start ahead of speedster Mark Sinnott (who will also play at H-back) and bulldozer Luke Carter at running back.
"We have three quality backs with (Madden and Sinnott) and Luke Carter," Roman said. "Mark is quick " he can run. Jake's a little more of a slasher. He has excellent vision. The nice thing about Jake is he has nice hands " we can do a lot with him with the passing game. Mark's explosive. If he gets to the third level there's a chance he'll take it all the way."
As the scrimmage neared its end, Carson scored on three of four possessions. Carter ran it in from four yards out, junior Jeremy Saunders raced in from the 10 and No. 3 QB Aaron Molter found senior Erik Roberson for the TD.
North Valleys scored its only two touchdowns at the end of the scrimmage, against Carson's twos and threes.
"Defensively, I really felt we were coming into our own at the end," Roman said. "We were physical and rallied to the ball really well."
Roman said he expected Jeff Butler to direct the team's defense from the middle linebacker slot, with fellow seniors Robbie Barlow (at cornerback) Steven Fowzer (at safety) and Blake Davidson (at defensive end) each leading the way from their respective positions.
The Senators, who finished 2-8 last season, hope to start the year off with a win against Spanish Springs on Friday at Carson High School. The Cougars beat Carson 20-14 last season.
The game, which begins at 7 p.m., will inaugurate Carson's new football field, which has been resurfaced with FieldTurf.
- Contact Mike Houser at firstname.lastname@example.org ot 881-1214