Gutierrez quietly gets the job done

There are unsung heroes on every team; guys who make plays week in and week with very little fanfare.

That's Carson High's Andrew Gutierrez.

The Carson junior, a first-year starter, has been a starter at cornerback all year and has done a capable job spelling Joey Thurman at wingback in helping Carson compile a 4-2 record entering today's game (7:30 p.m.) at Galena.

Gutierrez has 24 tackles and two pass breakups. Offensively, he's gained 106 yards on the ground with a score, and he's caught 10 passes for 79 yards which is second-best to Thurman. And, if that isn't enough, he's averaging 26 yards a kickoff return.

"Things are going pretty well," Gutierrez. "I've gotten a lot of experience on defense. There is still lots to improve on, on both sides of the ball. "

Maybe so, but his play has earned praise from head coach Blair Roman.

"He's done a good job; he's been solid," Roman said. "He's only been beaten deep once (McQueen) all season, and that's impressive when you consider all the teams that throw the ball in this league.

"He has a great attitude and he wants to get better. He's tackling well. If somebody catches the ball in front of him, they aren't going to get too many yards after the catch."

Of Gutierrez's 24 tackles, his biggest came when he brought down Reno's Chad Savage during the final drive of a 13-10 win earlier this year.

The only knock on Gutierrez is that he tends to get down on himself when he makes a mistake. Dwelling on mistakes means you aren't focusing, and if you don't focus in the defensive backfield you're liable to make a second, even more costlier, mistake that results in six points.

Gutierrez's offensive snaps come and go. He'll enter the game when Thurman needs a breather. Even in spot duty, he's been productive especially as a receiver.

"I didn't expect to get a lot of carries with Joey and I playing the same position," Gutierrez said. "Whatever is best for the team."

Against Reno, he had a 13-yard reception on a third-and-5 play that led to a game-tying score in the first half. Carson went on to win 13-10 thanks to a 99-yard game-winning drive. He caught four passes for 44 yards against Damonte Ranch, catching two key passes for first downs which the Senators were unable to convert into scores.

"Wingback is a hybrid position in our offense," Roman said. "You need receiving skills as well as running skills."

Gutierrez isn't the fastest guy on the team, but he's certainly no slouch. The speed comes in handy on returns. He and Thurman have made a good team back there.

"I like returning kickoffs," Gutierrez. "You have some room to run compared to punts. On punts it's hard to determine if they are right there. You can't see what's coming. It's hard to tell when it's good to field the ball."


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