Jonny Laplante, Carson High’s Swiss Army knife
The Carson High football team has asked its 5-8, 145 pound senior Jonny Laplante to play everywhere.
The roster doesn’t even do him justice, listing just three of the five positions the Senators have asked their super-utility senior to hold down.
“He’s literally not coming off the field,” said Carson head coach Blair Roman.
Along with quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back – the positions listed on the roster – Laplante also serves as the team’s punter and kick returner.
He’s shifty, elusive and both Roman and his defensive coordinator Steve Dilley have described him as fearless.
“His biggest weapon is he is not afraid to come up and hit,” said Dilley after practice Thursday.
“I’ve always said this about him, pound for pound he’s probably the toughest kid on our team. For his size he’s physical, he’s not afraid to hit, he’s able to hang out that at a high level because he’s so aggressive,” added Roman.
So far this season, Laplante has shown his ability to be everywhere. He’s second on the team in all-purpose yards (219) with most of them coming on kick returns. He’s third on the squad in tackles with 10 and had a forced fumble to his credit.
The do-it-all senior has also punted eight times and is a perfect 9-for-9 when asked to throw the football.
Laplante’s roles on the field have come with some sacrifice after being asked to hand over the reigns at quarterback to up-and-coming sophomore Will Breeding following a 2018 season in which Laplate threw over 76 percent of the Senators’ pass attempts.
However, the change in roles hasn’t put a hitch in Laplante’s senior season.
“I like QB, but we got Will and he’s a good quarterback and he gets me the ball,” Laplante said. “We make a good duo.”
Morphing into the role
Laplante hasn’t always served as a five-position specialist for the Senators, though his gradual increase in roles through his football career may have hinted at his current positional flexibility.
In his sophomore season, Laplante only played on the offensive side of the ball. As a quarterback he threw for 362 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions to go alongside 95 rushing yards.
As a junior, Laplante began taking on more responsibility as he played on both sides of the ball and recorded eight punts, averaging 37.4 yards per boot.
On the offensive side of the ball as a junior, Laplante – then wearing No. 15 – had nine total touchdowns, seven of which came on the ground. He tallied 817 total yards of offense between throwing and running the ball.
His junior year was also where his defensive assignments started as he racked up 15 tackles, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery.
With fewer seniors on the team this year, Laplante wearing several different hats has thrust him into a leadership role.
Though he will readily admit he would rather lead by example, the senior doesn’t have a problem giving feedback to a young Senator team trying to improve.
“I’m not much of a vocal leader. I’m a little shy on that,” Laplante said. “If anyone has any questions, I have answers and I’ll teach like tips and tricks on certain things.”
The biggest leadership quality the coaching staff sees in No. 18 is his competitive fire.
“I like hitting people, but if I can get around them I’ll get a few more yards and then hit the next person,” said Laplante.
He may weigh 145 pounds, but Laplante benches 230 pounds while squatting 240, according to Roman.
Laplante acknowledged conditioning has been the toughest part of playing a roulette wheel of positions.
“I’ve been really tired, but I just got to keep working and keep pushing myself to keep getting after it,” said Laplante.
As he’s grown into his role as a defensive back, Laplante’s football IQ has been the most obvious benefit the Senator coaching staff has recognized from the sideline.
“If you just watch him on film and the angles he takes to the ball and the fierceness that he plays with, … he’s not afraid to get his head in there,” Dilley said.
“I’m pretty quick at making decisions, which helps,” added Laplante.
With his level of awareness on defense and his strides to better himself as a player, Roman said Laplante is the kind of player he wants to build his team around.
Even while being undersized, Roman thinks his senior is capable at playing at the next level – should he be given the chance.
“It’s not like he’s going to be a top-line college prospect, but if he ever did get an opportunity at the next level is probably going to be at slot receiver, maybe a DB,” said Roman.
Laplante will continue to get reps all over the field and with over half the season remaining, Roman wants Laplante to continue being the type of player he only needs one word to describe – “baller.”
The senior Swiss Army knife thinks it’s just a matter of time before the Senators start to piece things together.
“I think just execute with all our plays and work as a team. We all have the heart and bond together, so we just have to keep executing.”