BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
When the Carson Senators and Spanish Springs Cougars football teams meet tonight, don't expect to see their traditional offenses. In fact, don't be surprised if they look nearly alike.
Now under their first-year head coach Blair Roman, the Senators have stepped away from their veer offense to the Pistol formation, the innovative creation of Nevada Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault.
Spanish Springs, which a few years back may have passed the ball once or maybe even twice a game, has now also adopted a least a modified version of the Pistol, while integrating an annoying fly sweep.
Needless to say, misdirection will be the order of the day when the Senators, who finished 2-8 last season, and the Cougars, who went 4-5, lock horns at 7 p.m. at Carson High School.
"They like to use some deception," Roman said of the Cougars offense. "They have a lot of unusual formations for a high school team, which we had to prepare for this week after watching some film of them. They have a different offense than last year. We made some adjustments this week."
Roman said the Cougars will likely alternate two quarterbacks, both of which will line up about three yards behind center. With the fly sweep, the wingback will be coming in motion from either the left or right side and run behind the quarterback, where he will either take the handoff, block or become a receiver.
Carson seniors Blake Davidson, who will line up as a defensive end, and Jake Madden, who will play at strong safety, said regardless of whatever Spanish Springs throws at them, they expect the Senators to win.
"This year, we've got a more 'go-get-'em' defense," said Davidson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound returner. "Everyone is buying in on defense. We have a real attitude on defense this year. I feel comfortable with our (line)backers and we have good corners and safeties this year."
Davidson also said that because the Carson defense has to practice against its own Pistol, it should help when it comes time to face the Cougar's version of the formation.
Roman said Davidson will bring skill to both sides of the ball.
"He's a lean kid and very sturdy for his body type," Roman said. "He's physical. The biggest assets for Blake are his instinct and he can run. He's a good athlete. He has a lot of potential to threaten kids at tight end.
"Defensively, in a lot of ways he's a hybrid " he can play outside linebacker and defensive end. I feel a good athlete like him can do well there."
The Senators, who lost 20-14 to the Cougars last year, are coming off an impressive scrimmage against North Valleys on Saturday. Madden, called "Mad Dog" by his teammates, will be the starting tailback for Carson and scored a touchdown in Carson's final tuneup.
Madden, who as a wide receiver missed most of last season with first a broken hand and then a concussion, said the Senators got off to a slow start against the Panthers before turning it up as the scimmage progressed.
"We were in much better shape than we'd been in the past," Madden said. "We began to dominate after the second series."
Roman said he's been pleased with the 5-11, 175-pound Madden's adjustment from wideout to the backfield.
"In practice, so far, I've liked how physical a running back he has become," Roman said. "It's a new position for him and he's a good athletic back that we can do a lot of things with. He'll be carrying the offensive load for us."
Madden, starting junior quarterback Blake Plattsmier and the rest of the Carson offense will be facing the 4-4 (or 40) defense of Spanish Springs.
"They're big up front " they have two 300-pounders on the D-line," Roman said of the Cougars. "And they have a very active linebacker in Nico Leyva."
Roman said he would be looking to "two platoon" his team, meaning he will try and have as many of them as possible play on one side of the ball while developing the greener players.
Davidson said there is a huge difference between this year's Senators and last year's.
"This year, we're definitely a second-half team: We're really conditioned for it," said Davidson, who last year had eight sacks and was second to linebacker Jeff Butler with 35 tackles. "Last year, everybody could play a quarter. The team would fall apart last year. We weren't conditioned. At the scrimmage Saturday, we were pumped up."
Roman said there will be no easy games this season.
"The way I look at it is every week we'll be in a game we can win or lose," he said. "It will come down to our performance in the game. There will be a lot of little things " the way we play special teams and take advantage of opportunities when we get them. It should be a great first game for both teams."
Against Spanish Springs, Carson will be playing its first game on the new FieldTurf installed at Carson High School. The project began on June 9 and was completed on Aug. 18.
Different field, refurbished stands and a different offense: Now the Senators will see if they can effect a different result on the scoreboard against this year's Cougars.
- Contact Mike Houser at email@example.com or 881-1214.