Spencer Rogers isn’t the biggest player on Carson High’s football squad, but he’s one of the smartest and toughest.
Those two ingredients were the main reasons why the 5-foot-8 165-pound senior was moved from cornerback to free safety this season for the three-time defending Sierra League champion Senators.
Rogers ranked third on the team in tackles a year ago with 78. He also had two interceptions, led the team in passes defensed with 11, tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries with two and he caused a fumble. All in all an impressive year for the first-year starter.
“Free safety in our system you have to be an intelligent football player, and you have to be a communicator,” head coach Blair Roman said. “That’s what Spencer is, and that’s how Joey (Thurman) and Asa (Carter) were. I want to be solid up the middle (nose tackle, middle linebacker and free safety).
“If you met him on the street, you might not think he’s an outstanding player because of his size. He’s tough and a hell of a player.”
Toughness. It comes from years on the football field and wrestling mat, two of the toughest sports. And, let’s face it, when you’re not one of the bigger guys around you better be tough or you’re going to get pushed around the block.
“Coach (Roman) asked me to try it out,” Rogers said after Wednesday’s practice. “I already like it.
“I’m not scared to get hit and obviously I like to hit. It’s very challenging, but I’m for it.”
Rogers likes his new spot because it gives him plenty of opportunities to make plays in both the passing and running game, and safeties love to lay the lumber to running backs.
“I’m still playing pass first (at safety),” said Rogers. “You have to keep your eyes up and see the whole field. At corner, you tend to look at just one receiver. I’m still expected to fill (come up) for inside runs.”
Asa Carter was exceptional in that role the past couple of years, and Rogers hopes he can make it a smooth transition and keep the tradition going.
Rogers had a couple of breakdowns at corner last year when he got beat for scores against Reed and Damonte Ranch early in the season. The coaching staff stayed the course, and Rogers finished strong.
“I made some mistakes; had some missed assignments where I didn’t read my keys,” Rogers said. “I’m pretty hard on myself. The mistakes made me work harder. Coach Dilley and teammate Caulin (Bartley) had confidence in me. They let me know that I could do the job. Coach Dilley kept me in there.
“If you are going to play defensive back, you have to have a short memory. Mistakes are going to happen sometimes. You just have to block them out (and not dwell on them).”
Rogers showed he has a nose for the ball. He had an interception and 10-tackle effort against Spanish Springs, and he had a 21-yard fumble return for a score against Hug. Expect more big plays this year from Rogers who’s bigger and faster.
Rogers has great work ethic and he’s a good teammate. Those two attributes led him to being named one of the team captains. There are two types of captains. Those who lead by example and those who are more vocal.
“I think I’m a little bit of both,” Rogers said. “I’m out there running as hard as I can; working as hard as I can. I think juniors look up to me. Last year, Ikela (Lewis) and some of the other seniors were great at helping the juniors (and sophomores). I’m trying to do the same thing.”
If you need proof, just watch a practice. During sprints at the end of practice, Rogers is the leader of his defensive group, and once he finishes he’s urging his teammates on; urging them to finish strong.
That’s exactly how Rogers would like to finish his high school career.