When Carson High linebacker Richard Romero was asked to put a letter grade on his first two games, he didn’t hesitate too long.
“I’d give myself a B for sure,” Romero said as he and his teammates prepped for Friday’s non-league game Friday ( 7p.m.) at Reed. “The first two games I’ve been solid. I need to be more aggressive; need to run to the ball harder. I don’t know that I’m playing to my full potential, but I’m working up to getting there.
“Definitely I give myself marks (after games). I’m always saying I should have made that play or I should have done this. The little mistakes you have to account for.”
One of the things Romero stressed was learning from mistakes, and proving that on the field. That was evident last Friday against Reno. Containment issues led the way to two long touchdown runs in the 19-0 loss.
“Small mistakes led to big plays,” Romero said. “We lost outside containment on both plays, and that killed us. We learned from that and shut Reno out the rest of the game.”
And, Romero was a big part of it, garnering five tackles against a physical Reno team. He and fellow linebacker Dawson Lamb were the bright spots in the loss.
The Carson defense is in for another tough game against the Raiders, a perennial powerhouse under new coach Tony Amantia, the former Damonte Ranch head coach.
“We need him to have a good game,” said defensive coordinator Steve Dilley said. “Reed is big and physical up front.”
“They are a good team,” Romero said. “They look like they are doing a lot of the same things (bubble screens and zone reads by the quarterback) as they have done in the past. The preparation is easier because Reed doesn’t throw 50 formations at you like Reno does.”
Don’t expect the 5-9, 170-pound Romero to back down. Despite giving up plenty of height and weight, he gets the job done. He’s gone from a part-time player last season to an every down contributor this season.
“He doesn’t know he’s undersized,” Dilley said. “He has very good instincts. He understands what the offense is trying to do.”
Romero, who has been playing football since he was 5 years old, said he’s never been told he’s too small to play the game. Nor does he feel his lack of size prohibits him from being an effective player.
He said film study helps, and just having a lot of experience is probably the most important thing.
“I watch film about 10 to 20 minutes a day, going over who we play and who we are trying to scout,” Romero said. “I’ve been playing the game for so long, it’s naturally going to come to me. Sure film helps, but I’m going to be the player I always have been and rely on my instincts.”
Romero pointed out being built lower to the ground than most is helpful in a couple of ways.
“I’m able to take people’s legs away easier because I’m so small,” Romero said. “I use that to my advantage. I do that (go low) rather than going head on. I can get around people easier because I’m small.”