Carson High football coach Blair Roman continues to do his best Yogi Berra act, essentially telling his team this game “is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Roman and his staff are focusing on the Senators’ psyche as they head into Friday’s game in which they host Spanish Springs. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“Our big focus right now is trying to get the kids’ minds right and ready to play Friday,” Roman said. “Our No. 1 goal is really just make sure the team is ready in all three phases of the game.”
Roman was referring to offense, defense and special teams — all areas that have plagued the team in its 1-3 start.
Carson’s pass coverage broke down in a comeback win against Lower Lake in the season opener. The main problem was turnovers against Foothill of Northern California.
Then the offense couldn’t move the ball against McQueen.
Offensively, CHS actually played well in a 55-21 loss to Reed, as it had 337 yards in total offense. But while there have been special teams breakdowns throughout the season, special teams allowed several big returns against Reed.
Special teams breakdowns led to a rough start against the Raiders as an opening kickoff returned for a touchdown and a blocked punt led to a 14-0 Raiders lead three minutes into the game.
“We’ve played so well in the past,” said Roman about his team’s special teams. He added “as a staff (we) kind of take personal” the special team breakdowns.
In each of the first four games, CHS has had at least one instance in which it wasn’t able to get a punt off. Roman said he doesn’t ever remember that happening even once in his time at Carson before this season.
He also said the opening kickoff return for a touchdown was a “correctable mistake that we made. We just can’t make mistakes like that.”
And Roman said the question remains will his team “learn from our mistakes.”
But Roman said his team must also put the last three games in the past and move on.
“The group from day one has been a great group to coach and a lot of fun to coach,” Roman said. “I think the major (thing) is belief. The kids have got to believe in themselves.”
With that said, Roman said about his team, “I would expect a pretty spirited effort Friday.”
Spanish Springs is 2-3 against a tough schedule with a 47-16 loss to San Joaquin Section power Monterey Trail of Elk Grove, a 49-19 loss to Damonte Ranch.
But the Cougars also have an impressive 47-13 win over traditional Sac Joaquin Section power Nevada Union and another impressive 40-0 win over Galena. “Good football team,” Roman said.
The Cougars are led offensively by sophomore quarterback Tristan Szabo, who has completed 73-of-130 passes for 1,047 yards with 12 touchdowns and just one interception. His two favorite target is Jordan Dudick (30 catches, 530 yards, 6 touchdowns).
On defense, Roman said he’s impressed with outside linebacker Colby Preston and middle linebacker Jackson Laduke.
He added the Raiders have a solid defensive line and an athletic secondary. “They’ve got some great athletes,” Roman said.
Among the highlights last week for Carson was a breakout game for Sethro Griffith, who had six catches for 98 yards and also intercepted a pass.
Also for Carson Chance Smith rushed for 117 yards on 17 carries and had 192 yards of total offense and Johnny LaPlante was 11-of-19 passing from 117 yards.