After an impressive showing in its only preseason scrimmage, the Carson Senators start playing for real when Desert Mountain-Scottsdale visits today.
Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at Carson’s Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
Carson is coming off a 10-2 season, a third straight Sierra League title and a third straight runner-up finish in the region. Desert Mountain went 6-5 last year in its 6A league and has a new coach in David Sedmak.
Desert Mountain, under the tutelage of former NFL QB Kurt Warner throws, throws and throws some more. The Wolves averaged 37 passes per game last year. One thing is certain, Carson won’t see another throwing offense like this all season.
Senior QB Austin Nuessle, a three-year varsity player, threw for 2,479 yards and 29 TDs as a junior. His favorite target is Warner’s son, Kade, who caught 96 passes for 1,142 yards and 15 scores. Junior Joshua Walker is also back after catching 31 balls for 328 yards. Brett Teller had 25 catches for 253 yards.
This means an immediate test for Carson’s young secondary of safeties Spencer Rogers and Sevon Mandoki, and corners Landon Truesdale. None of the quartet started at their current positions, and only Rogers started last season.
“This will test our defensive backs and hopefully make them better,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “This is a very good team. They played a lot of juniors (and a few sophomore) which should pay dividends. They have a lot of kids who got experience last season.
“The quarterback has good feet and throws it well, and Warner is a quality athlete who has D-1 potential. They have a couple of other receivers who caught the ball well (on film). They appear to be more physical than they were last year and trying to be more balanced.”
Sedmak, who was an assistant several years ago before leaving and then coming back, also coached in Ohio.
“Certainly we would like to be more balanced, but when you have a coach like Kurt running the offense you are going to throw more than run,” Sedmak said. “We certainly want to run the ball more.
“This is the third year Nuessle has started on varsity, and he and Kade have been together since their sophomore seasons. Kade isn’t super fast, but he is strong and has good hands. He does all the little things well.”
Rourke Freeburg is the top returning rusher, and he carried 23 times for 123 yards. Jake Juraszek carried 12 times for 68 yards in limited action.
Desert Mountain’s defense allowed four scores a game last year. Chase Linsenbach (66 tackles), Ari Watson (34 tackles) and Freeburg (81 tackles) are the top returners.
“They have nice size at defensive tackle (Cole Achtzen, 6-3 255), Evan Beason (6-0, 220), Austin Satre (5-11, 230), Nathan Garmo (6-2, 275) and Dane Harding (6-4, 240),” Roman said. “Their two middle linebackers are run stoppers. They line up well (and recognize formations).”
Roman is anxious to see how his inexperienced offensive line stacks up in a real game, and he gets another look at quarterback Jace Keema and tailback Abel Carter, both of whom were solid in the scrimmage.
“They do a nice job running their offense,” Sedmak said. “They move the ball well. They are a solid well-coached team.”
NOTES: The four teams – Carson, Desert Mountain, Galena and Mesa had a dinner at the Silver Legacy Friday night, and Kurt Warner addressed the audience … The game was originally scheduled at Mackay Stadium, but stadium renovation work prevented the game from being played there. Galena is hosting Mesa at 2 p.m. today … Carson linebackers Jordan Aikins (elbow) and Justin Tschetter (toe) are game-time decisions.