Carson High football looks to slow Foothill rushing game Friday
Carson High clashed with Foothill (Palo Cedro, Calif.) last season and saw the full force of then senior dual-threat quarterback, Jayden Gordon.
This season, the Cougars still rely on a run-heavy system, but are without the all-around QB who now plays at Idaho State.
Through the first two games of the 2019 season, Foothill has turned to another senior quarterback in Brandon Merryman (No. 5), who leads the team in both passing and rushing.
Merryman hasn’t proven to be as explosive as Gordon in the year’s early going, but has shown his ability to shed tacklers as he posted 118 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries last week against Eureka.
For Carson and head coach Blair Roman, the Senators have to stay assignment sound in order to hang with the Cougar offense.
“They run a nice zone read. They’re a run first team and they do it well,“ said Roman. “Assignment football is going to be big. More discipline this week in what we’re doing defensively is going to be important.”
Foothill has scored 14 points in both of its first two games, falling 20-14 in its season opener and a 14-10 win last week.
The Cougars like to keep teams guessing with the read option, typically putting three or four wide receivers out in space to spread out defenses.
With the read option, Foothill will look to force Carson’s defensive ends to decide between the quarterback and the running back.
Carson junior linebackers Jeremy Heaton and Connor Lampert are tied for the team lead in tackles this season with 10 and will be heavily relied upon to keep the Cougar ground game contained.
Senior defense end Luke Konrad also has 10 tackles this season for the Senators.
“In this era of football, we see it almost every week,” said Roman. “It’ll be a good week for us to work on that kind of thing and get better for the rest of the season.”
Opposite side of the ball
Defensively, Roman said the Cougars run a fairly simple defense, but one that is strong in the front seven.
One thing that caught the eye of the Senators’ head coach was the Foothill linebackers, who have shown their ability to fill holes.
“Up front we’ve got our work cut out for us in terms of getting some movement and winning at the line of scrimmage,” Roman said. “The battle in the trenches is going to be really important this week.”
Starting middle linebacker Manny Vasquez left last week’s contest in the third quarter, but Roman expects the senior to suit up.
“As of right now it appears we are healthy,” said Roman. “We’re expecting him to play … but hopefully he’s ready to go.”