Carson High needs to beat Wooster to keep postseason hopes alive
As far as Carson High football is concerned, the postseason started this week.
Sitting with an 0-3 record in Sierra League play, the Senators are currently a game back of both Douglas and Wooster as the three teams vie for the fourth and final playoff spot.
For the Senators, week nine brings Wooster to town giving the blue and white a chance to jump squarely into postseason contention with a win.
Douglas heads to Damonte Ranch this week after a 55-13 loss to Bishop Manogue last week.
Wooster is coming off its biggest win of the season, a 31-7 beating of Galena. Carson fell to Galena, 6-3, just three weeks ago.
While the playoff picture is certainly on the mind of both teams, a win Thursday is the only way to put a postseason berth in reach.
Finding offensive life
Neither team has shown its ability to be consistent on the offensive end, but Wooster’s defense could give the Senators the chances they need to build confidence.
The Colts have allowed 290 points this season through eight games, giving up more than 36 points per contest so far this year.
After getting shutout by Damonte Ranch last week, Carson head coach Blair Roman knows his offense is going to have to punch the ball in the end zone to win.
Carson’s running backs, which have been banged up throughout the year, will be tasked with the majority of the workload Thursday night.
The Senators’ leading running back Bradley Maffei (86 carries, 586 yards) missed his second game of the year last week against Damonte Ranch and Roman says his senior tailback is still day-to-day.
We’re hoping he is going to be available,” said Roman.
Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez has maintained his consistent touches without Maffei in the backfield, but if Carson is once again looking for production from other runners expect to see Ivan Villegas, Keith Price and Erik Hickson to get involved.
Roman doesn’t hide that the Senators are a run-first team, but the Senator head coach also expects Wooster to stack the box, meaning Carson is going to have to find production through the air as well if it wants a “W.”
After five offensive first downs last week, any big plays will help Carson try and muster its second offensive touchdown in the month of October.
“I think the big thing offensively, we have to throw the ball effectively,” said Roman. “They’re probably going to load the box. We have to establish something on the ground which we’ve had a tough time doing.”
Last week, the Colts posted a season-high 31 points and 368 all-purpose yards on offense.
Senator defense needs another strong week
Carson’s defense gave Damonte Ranch some fits last week, including an interception from Hickson and two tackles for loss.
The Senator defense was able to give its offense a few chances against the Mustangs last week and stifling Wooster early will be critical to keep confidence on the home sideline.
Ivan Villegas has taken over the team lead in tackles this season after 10 tackles last week brought his season total to 57. It was a big week for Villegas after Carson lost another one of its leading tacklers with a potential season-ending injury.
Wooster splits its offensive looks evenly between the run and the pass, but wide receiver Donovan Ratfield (No. 21) has 636 receiving yards this season and seven touchdowns to go along with it.
When the Colts’ offense is moving the ball, Ratfield has been involved and Carson will have to slow him first and foremost.
Like Carson, Wooster has two backs that have done the majority of the damage of the ground this season.
Angel Baldez (No. 20) and Jamel Wright (No. 32) have 429 and 344 yards on the ground, respectively, this season.
“Defensively, we have to do a good job of containing No. 1 (quarterback Jace Papke) and No. 21,” said Roman. “They have some nice size up front so our defense has to have a good game.”
With both team anxiously in need of a win, Roman expects the Colts to have the same attitude as Carson come kickoff.
“I expect them fully to come down here and I expect it to be a really competitive game no question about it,” Roman said.