Eddie Duarte played judge and jury earlier this week. He convicted himself of sub-par play.
When Duarte says things like that, you need to put an asterisk by it, however.
The veteran guard suffered from Achilles tendinitis during summer football, and he pretty much missed all the summer workouts. The Achilles injury happened during the second day of summer football. The injury forced him inside where trainer Adam Hunsaker had him on a bicycle twice a day for 30 minutes at a time.
Now, entering Friday’s Division I crossover home game against North Valleys, he’s hobbling around with a bruised foot.
Simply put, he’s not in the playing shape he needs to be in to play full speed for an entire game.
Not exactly the way you want to start your senior season.
The injuries haven’t totally sidelined the 240-pound Duarte, who played in the Senators’ first two games, but they have limited his durability and effectiveness. He believes he’s slowly working his way back into game shape. It’s not an easy process, and there are plenty of ups and downs. Patience is critical.
“For the most part, I’m not at the level I was at last year,” said Duarte, who’s expected to see action on Friday. “I think I’m getting there, though. Last year I was putting people on their backs, and I haven’t done that as much this year. I think right now I’m about 65 or 75 percent. I played three quarters against McQueen. I didn’t play the fourth quarter because we were so far ahead. I think I can be 100 percent (healthy) by the Damonte game. That is my goal right now.”
Carson coach Blair Roman has been patient in the process. He knows a healthy Duarte is better than no Duarte at all, and the Senators’ season doesn’t really start until Sierra League play begins on Oct. 2.
“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Roman said. “He wasn’t able to do much this summer. He is just getting into shape. I thought he played better against McQueen than he did against Reed.”
Everybody played better against McQueen (59-14 win),
Carson rushed for 509 yards against the Lancers and punted just once.
“I thought we (the line) did really well,” Duarte said of the Senators’ 59-14 demolition of McQueen last week. “We did what we had to do. It did surprise me at first (the lopsided score) because they always play well at home.
“When I’m tired, I have trouble finishing off blocks; can’t knock guys down especially late in the game or late in drives because I might be tired.”
Duarte is teamed up again with Kevin Rusler this year, and the duo is effective.
“It helps a lot playing together again,” Rusler said. “We pretty much know everything; know our line calls. We know each other very well, and we know what each other is going to do.
“He’s going to be fine. He is getting healthier every day.”