Carson High football hopes for better start at Foothill
Maybe Carson High football coach Blair Roman can tell his team Friday’s game at Foothill near Redding, California, actually starts at 6:45 p.m.
Friday’s game is actually at 7 p.m., but maybe if the Senators thought the game began 15 minutes earlier, they would get off to a better start.
Actually, Carson’s poor first half against Lower Lake in its season opener had more to do with first game jitters than not being ready to play. Still, CHS doesn’t want to face what it faced last week in which a poor first half eventually led to a 27-6 deficit.
The Senators, though, overcame the adversity and scored 28 unanswered points in a 34-27 comeback win.
But again, Carson doesn’t want a repeat performance. “We have got to come out and play better in the first half,” Roman said.
Foothill opened its season with a 16-0 loss to West Valley of Cottonwood, California. But Roman said Foothill is a solid team with an outstanding quarterback in Jayden Gordon, who Roman described as a “fantastic athlete.”
“He can really hurt you with his feet,” he said. “That’s a big focus, obviously.”
Like Lower Lake, Foothill runs a spread offense. Roman also said the defense likes to apply pressure and that the defensive ends and outside linebackers are active.
The first half struggles against Foothill had a lot to do with an inexperienced defensive backfield still trying to find its way. Roman said the only way for Carson’s pass defense to continue to improve is game action “under fire.”
He admitted after the scrimmage against Reed in which the Raiders had several big passing plays the pass defense was a concern going into the opener. “It’s just a work in progress right now,” Roman said.
But Carson’s pass defense showed marked improvement in the second half. After allowing Trojan quarterback Elijah Hernandez to go 10-for-15 for 199 yards in the first half, Hernandez completed just 7-of-16 passes for 79 yards in the second half.
An improved pass rush also helped. After not having any sacks in the first half, Carson had four sacks in the second half. Carl Cavner, Luke Konrad and Manny Vasquez, who combined on one sack, and Brad Maffei all had sacks late in the game to seal the win.
Roman said he was also pleased with how physical his team was and how it stopped the run. “I felt like we stopped their run game the whole game,” Roman said.
Carson also had an effective run game, led by Chance Smith, who rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.
But another player who was placed under fire was Garrett Clampitt, who was given the difficult task of being the starting center while also being the long snapper on kicks and punts. It was Clampitt’s first time as a long snapper in a game.
Clampitt had two bad snaps on long snaps that led to the Trojans’ first score and also had a bad snap on an extra point attempt that prevented Carson from tying the game and left the score at 27-26.
“That was pretty uncharacteristic of Garrett,” said Roman, who added he’s confident Clampitt won’t have any bad snaps on Friday.
Carson also gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back by a penalty. Roman, though, said the Senators were able to clean up that portion of the game the rest of the way. “I felt like our coverage was really solid,” he said.
But Carson still had plenty of mistakes, including two fumbles inside the Trojan 10-yard line. “We’ve got to clean it up for sure,” Roman said.
“They’re a pretty good football team,” said Roman about Foothill. “They have some nice size.
“I definitely think we have the ability to compete with these guys. I feel we have the ability to play with them.”