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Carson football looking forward to 2009

Roman says Carson program coming along

BY MIKE HOUSER

Nevada Appeal Sports Writer

 

Even though there was good reason to be optimistic headed into the 2008 football season, first-year Carson Senators head coach Blair Roman knew there would be no quick fix following the team’s 2-8 finish in 2007.

A new FieldTurf football field, a refinished track and a renovated stadium were great additions, but even when combined with boundless enthusiasm from his players and the student body, Carson didn’t make the postseason for the second consecutive year and finished 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the Sierra League.

Carson last made the playoffs in 2006 and hasn’t won a state championship since 1964, when it was a Class 2A program. (Its other three state titles came in 1955 and 1956 as a 1A program and in 1922.)

“When I took the job I tried to make it clear that people here have to be patient with our progress,” Roman said. “I feel like people have been patient. As much as we wanted instant success, we have a ways to go getting there.”

YEAR IN REVIEW

The Senators got off to a tough start, losing their first three games ” all of which were non-league contests ” against Spanish Springs, McQueen and Reed. In those games, Carson was outscored 132-28.

“The thing I was most thankful for after those three games, was how tough we stayed throughout the season and how hard the kids played every week,” Roman said. “They never gave up. I was pleased with their enthusiasm on the sideline.”

That ardor began to carry over to the field, where the Senators opened league play with a 39-22 comeback victory over South Tahoe and followed it with a solid effort against eventual Sierra League champion Bishop Manogue, dropping a tough 27-13 decision.

After splitting their next two games with Wooster (a 42-0 win) and Damonte Ranch (a 23-7 loss), the Senators took Galena to the limit in a 21-20 overtime loss. With a win in that game, Carson, which split its final two contests with Fallon (a 20-13 win) and Douglas (a 48-20 defeat), would’ve qualified for the Northern 4A regional playoffs.

“I was pretty pleased overall with our progress this year,” Roman said. “I didn’t set a wins and losses goal, but the biggest thing in terms of wins and losses is I felt we needed to be competitive. And we were. We were a couple of plays away from getting into the playoffs.”

SENIOR LEADERSHIP

Starting junior quarterback Blake Plattsmier, who began the year in the pistol formation before returning to play under center about four games into the season, credited the departing senior class for helping to instill what he regarded as a missing factor in the program.

“We were trying to build pride again,” said Plattsmier, who completed 89-of-185 passes for 881 yards and six touchdowns. He also threw 11 interceptions. “Our seniors get a lot of credit for a lot of changes. It was the first step of turning around our program.”

Roman singled out eight seniors who “helped lay the foundation to developing the attitude I want in the program.”

Middle linebacker Jeff Butler, defensive lineman David Laumea and defensive back Robby Barlow led the defense, while guard Ernesto Cortez, tight end Blake Davidson (who also contributed on defense) wide receiver Steve Fowzer and running back Jake Madden helped lead the way offensively.

Fowzer led the team with 24 receptions for 282 yards and four touchdowns, while Davidson and junior Ean Witter each caught 24 passes for an identical 240 yards and one touchdown.

Junior Mark Sinnott led the team with 615 yards rushing and scored nine TDs, while Madden added 441 yards and three scores on the ground.

ALL FOR ONE

Roman said he saw growth in his players ” on and off the field ” and that to a kid they all had good experiences playing for him and the program.

“That type of positive atmosphere helps build the pride necessary to be successful,” Roman said. “The final thing ” the key in going in the right direction ” is trying to build a complete program. Instead of having freshman, junior varsity and varsity, we have one football program. We’re not all the way there, but we’re going in the right direction.”

The JV finished 3-6, while the freshmen squad went 8-1. Roman’s singular philosophy would in a sense be an all-encompassing one in which players could identify themselves as simply being involved and playing a role on an all-inclusive Carson program, rather than classifying themselves as being on one of its three squads in order of their year of graduation.

Roman singles out the instillation of team pride as the biggest component of building a successful system. In that respect this year’s group “varsity, JV and freshman ” all played a role in his program’s future development.

Roman is counting on a number of players “regardless of which squad they played with this season ” to take the Senators to a new level next year (see breakout). And he’s going to try and do it with the best possible players, whichever team they have been on. Call it growth through open competition.

“We need good leaders,” Roman said. “We’re not graduating anyone into a position just because they started last year. There are no guaranteed spots next year. If a younger player shows he’s committed and capable of playing a position, he’s in. We’ll even consider bringing up freshmen.”

In other words, nobody better feel safe.

“It’s how you get better as a program,” Roman said. “You compete for your position. Human nature shows when you get a comfort level, you get lax. The program is at a point where we need to step up and beat some teams.”

This renewed level of internal competition and intensity are all the more reason that Carson football fans should once bring that sense of optimism and enthusiasm with them next year.