This certainly wasn’t the type of senior season Ian Schulz envisioned — four games played with nine tackles, two hurries and five pass receptions.
Schulz, a senior tight end and defensive end, expected a lot more. And, there’s no doubt that the talented three-sport athlete would have had better numbers had it not been for ankle injuries.
“It’s been a tough year,” Schulz said before Tuesday’s practice. “Track is my best sport, but I really would have liked to have seen how I could have done in football this year.”
In the preseason scrimmage against Reno, he tweaked his left ankle. A week later in the in the first half of the opener against Reed, he suffered a right high ankle sprain, which caused him to miss games against McQueen, North Valleys and Spanish Springs. He suited up for the latter two, but didn’t see any action.
“It was my second offensive play against Reed,” Schulz said. “Jace (Keema) got tackled and landed right on it.”
Schulz returned for the Hug game, a 58-0 win in which he had one catch for 18 yards.
“The best thing we did is sit him for three weeks,” Carson head coach Blair Roman said. “It gave him a chance to heal up and be confident enough to play at full speed.”
Schulz injured his ankle in the second half of the 17-14 win over Damonte Ranch.
Against Douglas, Roman used him as a wide receiver, and he responded with three catches for 19 yards.
“I liked it,” Schulz said. “I give the quarterbacks (Joe Nelson and Jace Keema) a bigger target, and I’m tough to bring down in the open field.”
Corey Jasper has been filling in at tight end most of the season because of the injuries to Schulz and Josh Thompson.
“Corey is good at down blocks and double teams,” Roman said. “Even though we haven’t thrown him the ball yet, he has good hands.”
Slowly but surely Schulz has come around, and last week he had a good game in the 27-17 playoff win over Reno.
Schulz racked up a season-best seven tackles.
“I felt like he played the best game of his career against Reno last week,” Roman said. “He will be playing a lot of defensive end (against Reed), but you may see a little bit of him at wide receiver and tight end.”
And, his performance against Reno has Schulz feeling confident.
“It was the first time I’d played the entire game, and I was able to get a feel for it,” Schulz said. “I finally got a chance to play (healthy) and show that I can play.”
The timing of Schulz’s performance couldn’t have been better, according to defensive coordinator Steve Dilley.
“He played really well,” Dilley said. “With the loss of Connor (Chech, hip injury), we needed that 230-pound body in there.”
Schulz has a big job ahead of him at 7:15 p.m. Friday. He has multiple assignments against the Raiders’ multi-faceted attack.
“If he lines up away from the tight end (Parker Houston), he has to force (Matt) Denn to give up the ball,” Dilley said.
“I have to make sure Denn doesn’t get outside,” Schulz said. “And, I still have to spy Denn and try to help on the inside run. I need to play like I did last week. I’m tired of losing to Reed.”
That is a sentiment shared by many on the Carson squad.
Schulz is one of a few three-sport varsity boy athletes at Carson.
It’s a tough road, because you get little rest between sports. The NIAA requires five days of rest before a student-athlete starts his/her next sport.
“Because we’ve done so well in football the last three years, I’ve literally gone from football to basketball with hardly any time off,” Schulz said. “I’m hoping to have a pretty good season in basketball. I did pretty well in a couple of summer tournaments. We’ll see how that goes.”
Even going from basketball to track has been tough because Carson has gone into the regional finals or semifinals the last couple of years.
Schulz won the regional shot put (52-4 3/4) and discus titles (162-3) last year, earning a trip to the state meet where he went 47-7 3/4 in the shot to place fifth and threw 157-11 to place third. Based on those marks, Schulz fully expects to make state again in both events. The state meet is at Carson High this year.