Carson High's Ben Heaton turns the corner against Spanish Springs last spring. Heaton and the rest of the Senators start the season with four straight home games.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
A shortened COVID season in the spring of 2021 saw a Senator football piecing together a roster that hadn’t had much time to sync.After a full summer offseason of workouts and practices, Carson High and head coach Blair Roman feel confident heading into the fall slate of contests.“We knew last spring was going to be an uphill climb,” said Roman. “It gave them experience, but it also showed them how much harder they need to work to compete at a higher level. … I would expect us to be a much improved team.”
Last year left the football landscape in limbo as schedules and teams were consistently adjusting on the fly.
This season, the Senators get to roll into week 1 with a full offseason program of work behind them.
More in their favor, the Senators start the regular season with four consecutive home contests.
In combination with a new turf field, continuing to build on the chemistry established over the summer will be crucial.
Carson opens with Sparks and Wooster, two matchups that Roman thinks will go a long way in giving the Senators a taste of where they stand.
“Traditionally, we’ve always played pretty well at home. We were fortunate,” said Roman. “The kids are really excited.”
Senators’ field generals
Vinny Ferretti will be back at quarterback for Carson.
Roman said the development his senior quarterback made in the offseason has been pleasing.
Joining Ferretti in the backfield could be a number of different players in royal blue and white.
Jacob Campbell and Parker Story will both get plenty of touches for the Senators, along with Gio Arce, Eric Hickson, Ben Heaton and Damonte Ranch transfer Iohane Tuia.
Lining up out wide for Carson will be DeCarlo Quintana and Lucas Gonzalez.
“They’ll bring a lot to the table,” said Roman. “You’ll see DeCarlo on both sides of the ball, too.”
Senator fans should expect Isaac Avina and Story to serve as pass catchers as well.
Carson won’t have any size advantages on the offensive line this year.
“We had a lot of kids in and out last year,” said Roman, “I think this summer has solidified a lot of key spots for us.”
Roman said line play was the Achilles’ heel of the team last season, so being consistent up front will go a long way for the Senators this fall.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort. It was just a lot of inexperience and not a real solidified group at that time.”
Carson’s defensive expectations
The Senators defensive line will feature some rotation, but Carson football fans will see some similar numbers in the trenches.
Sal Mora, Mack Chambers, Josiah White and Noa Tuia will all see time on the outside of the defensive line.
On the interior, senior Zach Gafford will be an anchor as a four-year player. Zane Ferguson, a Fallon transfer, will also see snaps as an interior defensive lineman.
“Really, really happy with this group on both sides of the ball in terms of progress,” said Roman.
Carson plans on using a few different packages mixing size and speed to throw off opposing offenses.
Sophomore Sam Richetta has impressed a few coaches and Roman expects to see the underclassmen gain a sturdier role as the season progresses.
Iohane Tuia will be the starting middle linebacker for Carson’s leading tackler from the spring, Ben Heaton, will be playing weak side.
Wes Dunkin and Javier Arellano will fill out the rest of the linebacker spots in Carson’s 4-2-5.
One of the biggest bright spots from spring into fall will be Carson’s secondary. Denton Fitzpatrick returns in secondary with Avina and Michael Gulley keeping their spots at corner.
Chris Guerrero played quite a bit of safety for Carson in the spring and will be tasked with the same role this season.
Looking around the region
In order to find more success on the field, the Senators will need to put a premium on ball security.
On the flip side, Roman is hoping his defense can help force a few extra turnovers to assist.
“We saw what we thought we would see,” said Roman. “We feel like we have a team with quite a bit of speed and confidence coming off this summer.”
Carson has scrimmaged against Bishop Manogue, Fallon and Fernley prior to this season – all teams that have competed for a state title within the last three years.
Roman thinks Carson has regained a lot of confidence that was missing during the COVID spring season.
“I don’t necessarily see, going into the season, why a lot of other teams would have taken a big step back,” Roman said. “Worrying about yourself and elevating your own game and program.”
8/20 –Sparks at 7 p.m.
9/3 — Reno
9/17 – @ Reed
10/1 – @ Spanish Springs
10/8 – Bishop Manogue
10/15 – @ Douglas
10/22 – BYE
10/29 – First round of playoffs