The new look for Class 5A football in Northern Nevada presents a level of belief many teams have been missing in recent years.
Carson High — which will play in Class 5A Division III — will, of course, see Douglas and Galena in league contests, but the three new opponents leave room for optimism.
Hug, North Valleys and Wooster join the league after a long realignment process over the winter and spring and all six teams in the new league will make the postseason.
The question that remains is who will win the division and earn the promotion to Class 5A Division II next fall?
Carson High is coming off a 2-9 season, but got a decent look at what it has to offer this season in Friday’s scrimmage.
The Senators didn’t see any of their new league opponents, but did move the football on multiple drives.
At quarterback this season for Carson will be either senior Kincaid Gill or junior Drake Hardcastle.
Carson High head coach Ryan Boshard says the two are still battling it out for the starting spot.
“We will know who the starter is this week,” said Boshard. “(Kincaid) has that tenacity and running ability. Drake is a little more pocket savvy in the passing game.”
Behind the quarterback will be a revolving door of tailbacks, each of whom will bring a different ability to the table.
Angelo Macias, Johnathan Alvarado, JT Heaton, Caiden Wilcox and Christian Rey are all names that Senator fans should expect to see get carries in the early portion of the season.
“Macias is our bruiser, Alvarado is more of our scat back-type,” said Boshard. “Heaton is a combination of Macias and Alvarado. … I’m really anxious to see how (Christian Rey) does.”
Junior Ethan Hendee returns after compiling 111 receiving yards last season. Isaiah Hurlbert and Jake Weninger will accompany Hendee at wide out.
“(Hurlbert) is one of the best surprises we got,” said Boshard. “He has some speed to take the top off the defense.”
Protecting and building the run game will be the return of Roman Gantt, who was an all-region honorable mention choice at guard last season.
Sam Richetta, who also was an honorable mention on the offensive line, will be back for his senior season where he will be at center.
(Johnathan Alvarado shifts his weight during a running play against Reno in Friday’s scrimmage. Carson High will have a handful of running backs carry the load this season, including Alvarado. / Jeff Mulvihill, Jr | InstaImage)
Defensive alignment and special teams
The biggest change for Senator fans will be the look of the defense, which has shifted to a 3-3-5.
“We’re not going to be the prototypical three down lineman, two-gap scheme,” said Boshard. “We are going to be a high-pressure team. We are always going to be sending a linebacker or two. We are never stagnant.”
Seniors Dawson Herbert and Odin Riley will be staples on the defensive line at end. The Senators have some depth at linebacker with Heaton returning, following his honorable mention all-region season.
Heaton was second on the team in tackles last season (70) behind Gill (75), who will also see time on the defensive side of the ball.
Wilcox and Tallan Duran will split time at middle linebacker for the Senators and get the calls into the huddle.
Trying to prevent the big plays will be Lucas Wold, who returns to the Senator sideline this season.
Boshard says Wold has been “screaming up the depth chart.”
Weninger, Hendee, Hurlbert and Kokoa Mitchell will settle in as defensive backs.
Alvarado will also play on both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker.
Herbert and Justin Moore are two other players that Boshard will lean on for dual duty.
Carson will also have Hardcastle at kicker.
Boshard will handle the offensive play-calling duties for the Senators.
Scott Witter will continue to be Boshard’s right-hand man as the receivers’ coach and passing game coordinator.
Rod Estrada will coach the offensive line while Joey Thurman will coach the running backs.
Blake Plattsmier will return to the sideline this fall, serving as a quarterback coach when available.
After decades on the sideline, both coaches Jim DeArrieta and Bob Bateman have retired.
Justin Barlow will step into the defensive coordinator role while Adam Domitrovich will run the linebackers.
Jake Myers will serve as the defensive line coach.
“The expectation is to be competitive in every game. This 5A Division III is wide open for the taking,” said Boshard. “We have every opportunity to do what we need to do to potentially win a region.”
Boshard thinks that Hug will make some splashes this fall in the new division along with Galena.
“You have to go with Galena as being the top team in our league. They are going to be good,” Boshard said.
Carson Senators football schedule
Aug. 19: at Sutter (California), 7 p.m.
Aug. 25: vs. Calaveras (California), 7 p.m.
Sept. 1: at Basic (Henderson), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9: at McQueen, 10 a.m.
Sept. 15: vs. Bishop Manogue, 7 p.m.
*Sept. 21: at Hug, 7 p.m.
*Sept. 29: vs. Wooster, 7 p.m.
*Oct. 6: at Galena, 7 p.m.
*Oct. 13: vs. North Valleys, 7 p.m.
*Oct. 20: at Douglas, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26: 5A-III playoffs
* — 5A-Division III game