Carson High’s Acosta holds his own
MANOGUE (5-2, 1-0) AT CARSON (3-3, 0-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Jim Frank Track & Field Complex
Last week: Manogue 40, Capital Christian 13; Carson had a bye
Quickness and guile. It’s the recipe to success for Carson High defensive lineman Jon Acosta.
At 5-11 and 210, Acosta gives up weight week in and week out to the offensive guards and centers he sees, yet he’s able to hold his own because of his quickness, technique and his mental preparation.
“I think I’ve done a really good job of getting off blocks well,” said Acosta, who has racked up 17 tackles and two sacks this year. “That is the key for me, getting off the ball quickly and getting off the blocks.”
Not surprisingly, Carson coach Blair Roman said Acosta has been the team’s most consistent interior lineman.
“He really is a linebacker body playing defensive tackle,” Roman said as his team prepped for Friday’s home game against Bishop Manogue. “He’s a problem to block because he is so quick. He is strong inside. I rarely see him get down blocked because of his quickness.
“We give him four different blocks he might face every week and we rep him up every week. That is one thing that line coach (Justin) Barlow has brought with him from playing in college.”
Acosta’s mode of attack is to let the offensive player make the first move and react accordingly. Read and react.
“I try to read the lineman and see what kind of block (and where the play is going) he is going to use and then counter with my own move,” he said.
Acosta’s best game came against North Valleys when he racked up 11 total tackles. Those are the kind of numbers linebackers put up.
Another key to Acosta’s success is he’s able to fight off blocks. He has strong, quick hands, and you need that when you’re giving up size. He does a good job of not letting offensive linemen lock onto him. When that happens, big gains are quick to follow.
“We brought him up to varsity at the end of last year, and I knew then that he would be a good player for us this year,” Roman said. ”Even with his lack of size, he is physical. He gets off blocks and pursues the ball.”
And, Acosta helps the Senators in other ways, too.
He has held down the punting job all season, and except for the game against Galena when he was bothered by a sore hip and was held out, has been solid. He’s averaging 31 yards a kick with five inside the 20 and a long of 41.
“He works at it,” said veteran Carson kicking coach Jim deArrieta. “The stats don’t show how well he’s kicked. He’s a better punter than the stats show. He is really good when the pressure is on. They aren’t returning his punts, and that’s a good thing.”
DeArrieta said he doesn’t get hung up on average, because punters sometimes are asked to kick toward sidelines to limit returns or pooch it inside the 20.
Acosta is a neophyte at punting. He started kicking a year ago at the JV level, and he’s close to finishing his first varsity season. Just a junior, Acosta will continue to work during the spring and summer under deArrieta’s watchful eye.
“I think I could (average) 40 yards,” Acosta said. “Right now, I’m focusing on just getting it out there before they can touch me. The main thing I’m working on is how high I drop the ball that determines how much leg I can put into it.”
Acosta is also subject to the unpredictable Northern Nevada weather where it can get windy at times, and cold later in the season. Not the easiest conditions to deal with if you’re a kicker.