Friendship anchors left side of Carson's line

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Will Flores and Trevor Goodale have been playing football together for a long time, and Carson offensive line coach Pat Houlihan took that into consideration when he paired them up on the left side of the line.

It was a move that both Goodale and Flores welcomed with open arms. Flores moved from right tackle to left guard, and he loves his new position.

"We have a huge friendship, and football keeps it closer," Flores said. "We sweat and bleed together. If he needs help, I'll help him , and if I need help I know he'll be there for me.

"I get to pull on almost every play, and that's the most fun thing to do. You get the big hit and you get to take the running backs to the promised land."

Goodale doesn't get to pull too often in the offense, but several times a game you'll see him down block an unsuspecting defensive lineman and pancake him. The rangy 6-4 230-pound Goodale said that some defenders never see him coming until it's too late.

Besides the friendship factor, Houlihan had other reasons for forming the new combination on the left side.

"Strength. It makes us very strong on the left side," Houlihan said. "They're both competitors. They are responsible for the line calls on their side. They and the rest of the line has worked very hard, have bought into what we're doing and they understand how we want things done.

"This is a difficult offense to learn. You can't just come into this offense without some background. It's an offense where you have to make a lot of calls. Tempo is critical in this offense. I'm looking for lean and mean."

Houlihan stressed that the Wing-T is based on communication. With the faking and motion that goes on during a play, communication between linemen is vital. That's another area where Goodale and Flores use their friendship to good advantage. They have verbal and non-verbal signs they use between themselves.

Houlihan praised Flores for his leadership, calling his skills "commendable".

"He never wants to get off the field," Houlihan said. "He's always showing other linemen how to do something."

Goodale is an "analytical" type of player, according to Houlihan.

"He's intelligent," Houlihan said. "He's always asking why we're doing things a certain way. He knows other people's rules (what they do on certain plays). You will tell guys certain things and they go out and do it. Trevor wants to know why it's done a certain way."

Linemen often complain they don't get enough respect, and that they only get noticed when they miss a block or get called for a penalty. That isn't the case, especially on this team. When Luke Carter scored on a 46-yard run against South Tahoe last week, the first words out of his mouth were praise for the linemen and what a big hole he had to run through. Ditto when Blake Plattsmier scored on a long run against Reed.

"It's nice to get a little recognition," Goodale said.

"I love it when the backs and quarterbacks tell you that you did a good job," Flores said.

The play of Goodale, Flores, Justin Barlow, Danny Gall and Matt Cooper has been exceptional, especially when you consider only a small portion of this offense was put in last year.

"You can't just come into this offense without some background," Houlihan said. "It's an offense where you have to make a lot of calls. Tempo is critical in this offense. The guys can tell you, I don't let them take a play off."

Carson players are timed from the time they break the huddle and snap the ball, often getting off a play every four-plus seconds.

"It's all about tempo for us, Flores said. "We want to wear teams out; their defensive lines."

Certainly Houlihan deserves a lot of credit for the offensive line's effort this year, but players worked extremely hard in the spring and summer to get stronger and get acquainted with the offense.

Carson's football team is in uncharted territory. It's been quite a while since the Senators have been 3-1 after four games, and ranked No. 1 in the area.

"The teachers and students have noticed," Goodale said. "It's nice."

And well deserved.

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