Senators looking to improve against Reed

Enthusiasm not an issue as Carson readies for Reed

BY MIKE HOUSER

Appeal Sports Writer

If anybody had a question concerning the mindset of the Carson football team following its 52-0 dismantling at the hands of McQueen on Friday, all they had to do was get within about 50 yards of the Senators practice field on Thursday.

Enthusiasm was the watchword of the day as players showered each other with shouts of encouragement as they went through their no-contact drills, which was preceded by an hour a full-shell practice.

"We've tried to instill that from the first day " back in January, really," first-year Carson head coach Blair Roman said of his players' support of each other, which was also evident on the Senators sideline throughout the loss to the Lancers. "We can't be successful unless we get contributions from everybody. The sideline can contribute. Their moral support for their teammates is important. I'm proud of the kids and how they have been buying into our philosophy."

This is in spite of a game in which the Carson offense failed to put up positive yardage " it was to held to minus-three yards to McQueen's 269 " and an 0-2 start to the season.

"What it starts with is execution," Roman said. "We had problems right away. We fumbled the ball right away and had two snaps that went over the quarterback's head in the first couple of series. It doesn't matter how good you are; you can't do that. We have to work on execution and eliminating mistakes."

The Senators will see tonight if they're headed in the right direction when they hit the road for a nonleague contest with the Reed Raiders, who opened the season with a 26-14 loss to new Sierra League member Bishop Manogue two weeks ago and are coming off a bye week.

The Raiders, of the High Desert League, last faced Carson in the first round of the 2006 Northern 4A regional playoffs. Reed won that game, 37-0.

"We had a rough game last week. We played a very good football team," Roman said. "I feel everyone needs to learn from that experience. We had a really good practice (Wednesday). We have a good game plan against Reed. (The Senators) are hungry for their first win. The kids have worked hard."

While Carson has an idea of what kinds of problems the Raiders will present " they run a modified Pistol formation in its no-huddle, spread offense " they're not quite sure exactly who will be under center.

Against Manogue, starting quarterback Tyler Pine left the game with a possible concussion and junior Brandon Mondragon took over.

"(Mondragon) looks like a real good athlete," Roman said. "He's a really good runner. He throws well. No matter who they have in " (Pine or Mondragon) " they have good athletes, which can present problems for the defense. That really makes their offense tough to study."

Roman said Carson has work to do on both sides of the ball and felt that getting in with the Lancers " albeit on the wrong end of a one-sided game " was an opportunity for his team to be exposed to high-quality football.

"No. 1, these players " especially the younger ones " found out what state championship football level is," Roman said. "McQueen has a long way to go still (to a championship), but they're playing at a high level now. It was good for our experience."

Roman pointed out one deficiency in the Senators' defense that needs to be addressed if Carson is to have any success tonight.

"The No. 1 thing is we need to know our responsibilities," he said. "We need our players to be comfortable. They need to know what their job is on every play and not do their own thing. Do your own job, not somebody else's. Teams like McQueen and Reed will make you look bad if that doesn't happen."

Reed will be the Senators' final nonleague opponent. Following a bye week, Carson will open its Sierra League campaign on the road against South Tahoe on Sept. 27.

For the Senators, tonight's game serves more than one purpose.

"Our goal (tonight) is to go into Reed High School and come out with a win," said Roman, who emphasized the nonleague game would also prepare the Senators for league play. "The second part is that league games are the most important in preparing a team for the playoffs. Reed will definitely help us prepare for that because they are a good football team."

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Reed High School.

- Contact Mike Houser at mhouser@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214

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