The Carson High football team listens to head coach Blair Roman during practice last week. The Senators will have plenty of youth on the roster this season, but Roman and the rest of the coaching staff expects to see some bright spots turn out after the shortened season.
Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage
It’s been an extremely long offseason for all of Northern Nevada, but the young Carson High football team taking the field this spring has been through plenty.
Unlike many of its Class 5A counterparts, the Senators opted to scrimmage Reno High School to open the spring season this past Friday.
Longtime head coach Blair Roman said the scrimmage was an ideal way for Carson to shake off some rust after 16 months without an actual contest.
“I’m glad we scrimmaged and didn’t play a game,” said Roman. “I think some of the teams in our region that have some experience probably benefitted from playing a game that first week, but I’ll be honest with you, just looking at them on film across the board they all looked rusty. We were certainly rusty.”
While working through the wrinkles of gameplay, Roman said seeing his young team avoid getting wide-eyed while traveling to take on a quality Reno High program was a selling point.
All seven of Carson’s all-league selections from the 2019 season were seniors and now the Senators will turn to a small senior class to lead the charge.
With only five seniors expected to start on offense and defense, it’s a team Roman is energetic to watch grow.
“A lot of our goals this year really don’t have anything to do with wins and losses,” Roman said. “It’s how we’re doing weekly and how we’re developing our program and our players.”
Starting on offense
There will be plenty of new names and faces to the varsity lineup this season and quarterback will be no exception.
Vincent (Vinnie) Ferretti will be option No. 1 for the Senators under center. The junior takes over for Will Breeding and will pose a dual threat of both passing and running options.
“He fits our offensive scheme really well and he’s come around in some positive areas that we are really excited about,” said Roman of Ferretti.
Christopher Guerrero-Mendoza and William Ore can also be expected to see snaps for the Senators, but Roman said Ferretti would be the starter come Friday’s season opener.
Ben Heaton is the only returner for the Senators at running back.
“You’ll hear his name a lot over the next two seasons,” Roman said. “Ben will be one of the better players in the region in what he does.”
His brother Jeremy Heaton, Jacob Campbell, Giovanni Arce-Garcia, Eric Hickson and Parker Story, will accompany Heaton in the backfield.
Lined up at wide receiver will be sophomores Decarlo Quintana, Lucas Gonzalez as well as senior Renald Malasaga.
At tight end, Mack Chambers will be penciled in as the starter as a sophomore.
In the trenches will be sophomore Logan Harvey at center along with several other underclassmen.
“That whole group is developing into what we hope is going to be a really quality line. We’re very young,” said Roman.
In the fall of 2019, the Senators were focused on not giving up the big play in the secondary and keeping teams in front of them.
With the youth of the roster, Roman has the same mentality – even if he’s optimistic Carson has some more natural ability in the secondary.
“We’ve been very pleasantly surprised of what we have on the back end,” said Roman. “When you’re seeing as much spread offense as we see, you need athletic kids that can cover people.”
Sutter Reynolds, Michael Gulley, Isaac Avina and Denton Fitzpatrick have all caught the eye of their head coach in the secondary.
Returning senior linebackers will be Izayah Pando, Connor Lampert and Alfredo Galvan-Rupert.
Alan Mayoral-Escobedo and Ben Heaton are also expected to see time at linebacker.
“We are young and inexperienced, but we feel like we’ve also got some pretty quality kids. They’ve showed flashes of some things,” said Roman.
Don’t expect to see a ton of young players go both ways on the line.
Roman anticipates having offensive lineman serving in depth roles on the defense, but focusing on specialization is a priority for the Senators.
Zach Gafford and Donovan Peterson will be the two starting defensive tackles for Carson.
At defensive end, the competition remains present. Salvador Mora-Rodriguez and Josiah White are two of several names trying to earn repetitions at defensive end.
With such a young team, Roman expects his senior captains to be leaders in the shortened season.
Reynolds, Jeremy Heaton, Pando and Ben Heaton will be the Senators’ four captains this season.
With four games to build the repertoire of his young team, Roman expects the season opener against Reed to be a challenge as the Raiders return loads of experience from last season.
“What is going to be our attitude in terms of competing against them,” said Roman. “At some point, when the rubber hits the road, you have to have a team believing in itself that they can compete with anybody.”
In 31 years of coaching, Roman said he’s never seen his athletes as happy as they are to be out on the field.
Now, the Senators are hoping to put together the building blocks for the fall.
Friday, March 12 – @ Reed
Friday, March 19 – v. Bishop Manogue
Friday, March 26 – @ Galena
Friday, April 2 – v. Douglas
Friday, April 9 – TBD; ‘Bowl Week’