Beattie enjoying time on field after injury |

Beattie enjoying time on field after injury

Darrell Moody
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Connor Beattie is playing his first year of football at the high school level, but you wouldn’t know it by his performance on the field.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound junior outside linebacker has been a solid contributor all year for the Senators, and last week intercepted his first pass of the season in the 50-0 playoff win over North Valleys.

Beattie is certainly one of the many guys on the Carson roster this year who have toiled in obscurity. Beattie goes about his business in a workmanlike manner, and he has impressed a coaching staff, who knew little about him before last summer.

That’s because Beattie eschewed playing for Carson’s freshman team, opting instead to play on a local Pop Warner team coached by teammate Dylan Sawyers’ dad, Steve.

“I’ve been good friends with Dylan for a while and so I decided to play Pop Warner,” Beattie said. “Steve (Sawyer) said freshman year really didn’t count.”

Beattie was planning on going out for the junior varsity team the following summer, but lost the whole season when he blew out his knee at a full-contact football camp at BYU.

“It happened the first hour (of camp),” Beattie said. “I stiff-armed a guy and then he grabbed my jersey.”

Beattie’s knee was twisted around and then twisted back. The result was anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament damage. His dreams of playing football as a sophomore were dashed.

“It was nine months before I could run and a full year before I could practice,” Beattie said. “They did a cadaver graft and the knee is 40 percent stronger than it was.”

The injury made Beattie an unknown product entering the summer camp.

“I knew of him,” said defensive coordinator Bob Bateman. “I’d heard he was a pretty good athlete. He hadn’t played a down of football here. I really didn’t know what to expect.

“He came into my weight class, and I started him real slow (because of the injury). He got stronger and stronger. There were four or five other guys out here that he beat out for that spot. He’s really cerebral. He has a good football mind.”

Still, Beattie admits that he was concerned about making the first cut or taking the first hit on his surgically repaired knee.

“We were at the South Tahoe camp this past summer,” Beattie said. “I was playing running back and we were scrimmaging Argonaut and they were aggressive.”

Beattie made that initial cut and said he hasn’t worried about his knee since. He will wear the brace the rest of this season, but isn’t sure about the future.

Beattie admits that he’s learned more about the game this season and his position in particular.

“Luke (Carter) has really helped me a lot,” said Beattie, who admits there is a huge difference between Pop Warner and high school ball. “He played that position before.

“I think I’ve done a good job, but I continue to work on things like my (pass) drops and my open-field tackling.”

The latter is huge. Beattie is asked to play in space; play on the weak side (opposite the tight end). It’s a position that requires a plethora of skills.

“You have to have good vision,” Bateman said. “You have to have good quickness. You can’t be really methodical out there. You have to be a sure tackler because you don’t have help out there.”

Beattie has played well despite the fact that he’s undersized in terms of weight.

“Connor plays a position where his height and weight aren’t a concern,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “If it were a position where weight was an issue, Bob (Bateman) would try to make sure he would be a success.”