Senators spring ahead in preparing for 2016 season

Carson QB Jace Keema throws downfield to one of his receivers this past spring at Carson High.

Carson QB Jace Keema throws downfield to one of his receivers this past spring at Carson High.

In the mind of Carson High football coach Blair Roman, the purpose of spring football is about observation and evaluation.

“We were trying to look at a lot of different kids and evaluate where they’re at,” Roman said after the Senators finished their two-week spring practice with their annual 7-on-7 spring game Thursday afternoon. “The biggest thing we get out of this is that we get out here and get our football legs under us.”

Looking ahead to the 2016 season, the three-time Sierra League champs have some questions that need to be answered.

The biggest, because all coaches believe everything starts up front, is rebuilding the offensive line.

The Senators lost Austin Ackerman, Logan Menzel, Kevin Rusler, Eddie Duarte, Ian Schulz and Corey Jasper. The group helped Carson average 316 rushing yards per game. The only returnees are Josh Thompson, who missed most of the season with a knee injury, Bryceton Schilling and Zach Frewert.

“We had five or six senior linemen graduate,” Roman said. “We’ve been in this situation before. We are going to develop and bring them along. We are contemplating some position changes.”

The next big question, and it was partially answered last year, is the quarterback spot. Senior Jace Keema, who accounted for more than 400 yards total offense and 10 TDs in relief of the injured Joe Nelson, is the starter. He will be backed up by Daniel Morrison, who’s coming off a knee injury.

Keema completed 20 of 32 passes, three for scores, in Thursday’s 7-on-7 scrimmage. He had a 45-yard scoring toss to tight end Nick Andreas.

“I’m feeling pretty good about the quarterback situation,” Roman said. “Jace did a great job against our first-string defense, and Daniel threw some pretty good balls.”

Since 7-on-7 is strictly passing, Roman didn’t really get a chance to see his runners. It was a deep position last season, and despite the loss of Asa Carter, the cupboard is pretty full and relatively battle tested.

Abel Carter (1,161 yards, 11 TDs) starts at fullback and Greg Wallace (857 yards, 11 scores) is at one wingback. Kellen McDermott, Tyler Huling (17-104), Spencer Rogers (8-53) and Jake Roman (11-75) will battle for the last wingback spot. Wallace and Carter are both good receivers, and Jake Roman scored a TD against Reed in the season-opening game.

Defensively, the Senators are led by linebacker Justin Tschetter, who had 93 tackles. Roman believes his defense has good team speed, and he’s looking at developing depth this season. The Senators appear more athletic defensively this year.

“Our speed is good,” Roman said. “We are breaking on the ball well in the secondary.”

Rogers and Brandon Gagnon are the top cornerbacks, but Rogers could end up at safety. McDermott and Wallace will be fighting for playing time. Gagnon had two interceptions on Thursday.

NOTES: Keema, Thompson and Rogers were selected as captains entering the summer workouts … The team will do weights in June and report on July 6 for first practice.

The summer camp is being held at Incline on July 12-14.


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