Carson High wrapped up its six days of spring football practices with its annual 7-on-7 scrimmage Thursday.
The event was hampered by lightning and thunder, which chased the players inside for more than 30 minutes.
One of the big question marks for the 2018 Senators is at quarterback where senior Blake Menzel and junior Jon Laplante are battling for the No. 1 job.
Laplante started most of the season after Daniel Morrison went down with a season-ending injury in the opener in Pocatello. Laplante completed 37 percent of his passes for 362 yards and two scores. Menzel was 7-for-25 passing for 54 yards. The team QB rating was 30.9, and that won’t cut it.
Menzel got the first reps under center over Laplante, who finished the season as the starter. Coach Blair Roman said people shouldn’t read anything into it.
“They know they are both competing for the job,” Roman said. “Obviously Jonny showed what he can do. They have both shown a lot of improvement. Blake has worked very hard and has improved by leaps and bounds and so has Jonny.
“We are working on a lot of things (with them both), and one of them is getting the ball out quicker. We’re still a little slow. We want competition throughout the team.”
Menzel did throw for a couple of TDs, 25 and 18 yards, on his first series, both to Chance Smith, who will have to fill the shoes vacated by superstar Abel Carter.
Smith had a nice scrimmage. He also picked off a pass when he was moved over to defense when the second-team offense came on the field. Smith, who missed time because of an appendectomy last season, gained 262 yards on the ground and added two catches for 9 yards.
“We were starting to have a nice 1-2 punch with him and Abel before he got hurt,” Roman said. “That changed things. It hurt when we lost him. We do have some depth at wingback. Tucker Nichols looks really good and so does Gilbert Vasquez. We have three guys who give us a lot of quickness.”
Nichols had 52 yards total offense last season in limited action, and Vasquez is up from the JV team.
Roman also is happy with depth at wide receiver. Lucas Van Brow, who caught a TD in the scrimmage, had one catch for 6 yards last season. He’s a big target at 6-3, and that can be useful on jump balls in the end zone. And, don’t be surprised to see Smith flanked out wide.
The offensive line has returners Carl Cavner (5-10, 268), Chandler Tiearney (6-2, 274), Garrett Clampitt (6-0, 200), Cole Ashton (6-1, 190) and Clayton Greene (6-1, 315), who’s being moved to center. Jon Acosta (5-11, 210) returns, and he will help on both sides of the ball.
Vernon Painter, who played 8-man football at Coleville, may also be coming out for the team which would help the depth on the offensive and defensive lines.
Carson will start its summer program July 9, and the Senators, who were 4-6 last year, will participate in a three-day camp at Bishop Manogue. Douglas and Spanish Springs will also be there, and Roman said Wooster may also participate.
Official practice starts Aug. 6 with the season opener set for Aug. 31 at Foothill High in Redding. The Senators will scrimmage Reed on Aug. 17.
Roman has an opportunity to play a non-league game on Aug. 24, but he hasn’t had any takers.
“That is a tough date to fill, especially because we have to have a home game” Roman said.
With Wooster now in the Sierra League, Carson will play nine straight weeks instead of having a bye week later in the season.
“I liked having the bye, especially when it was right before the Douglas game,” Roman said. “It’s nice to have a consistent routine, too.”