Carson dominates postseason awards
Carson High football players — Asa Carter, Nolan Shine and Colby Brown — plus coach Blair Roman, reaped the benefits of an undefeated Sierra League season by walking off with top honors.
Carter, a junior safety-running back, was named Sierra League Player of the Year, Shine was named the league’s top defensive player and Brown shared co-offensive player of the year honors with Damonte’s Sam Banghart. All three also were named to the all-region squad.
Roman, who guided the Senators to a 9-3 record and a fifth league/conference title in seven years, was named the coach of the year. He was nosed out for region coach of the year by Hug’s Carl LaGrone, Jr.
A fourth Carson player, defensive end Brady Rivera, capped a great high school career by being named first team all-Sierra and all-region.
Carter helped Carson in all three areas — offense, defense and special teams. Offensively, he caught 14 passes for 380 yards and three scores, and rushed 54 times for 549 yards and seven scores. He also went 2-for-3 passing for 67 yards and a score. On defense, he intercepted eight passes, had 70 tackles, caused four fumbles and defensed four passes. He also did an excellent job covering kicks and blocked two punts. “I read it in the paper yesterday (Sunday),” Carter said. “I’m very happy with the way this season went. I worked very hard, and it was nice to see that pay off. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get player of the year for the region next year.”
If he puts up anywhere near the numbers that he did this year, it will be a mere formality.
“He was a difference maker,” Roman said earlier this week. “Thinking back, without Asa as good as he was, his performance was the difference in 2-3 games. There is nobody in the area who made a bigger impact. Personally, I thought he should have been voted player of the year for the region. (Roosevelt) Calhoun from Hug is a good player. I thought Asa was just as deserving.
“It starts with attitude. He is very coachable, and combine that with his athletic ability, he’s going to excel. He does what we ask him to do. He is so talented.”
There wasn’t much Roman didn’t ask Carter to do.
“Offensively, he’s a dynamic player,” Roman said. “We used him a lot more the second half of the season; we started to get the ball in his hands more. He produced running and receiving, and his defensive play was outstanding.”
Shine, a senior, averaged nearly seven tackles a game, and played a huge role when he was moved to ‘Sam’ linebacker on a full-time basis. After the change was made, Carson’s defense allowed just 46 points in its last six games.
“I was pretty surprised,” Shine said. “It was a big honor. It’s just great.
“Going to linebacker full time helped tremendously. The key was making my reads quickly and getting there as fast as I can. It was just reading the play. I was a technician in that part of the game.”
At barely 160 pounds during the season, Shine couldn’t just rely on strength. He needed guile and guts, and it was his football acumen that led to stops at or near the line of scrimmage.
“Nolan would have been recruited if he weighed 200 pounds,” Roman said. “He plays like a 250-pounder, he’s that kind of kid. Three or four times a game, he would make tackles for loss. He would kind of slither through and make the play. He had such an impact on our defense.”
Roman believes that Brown should have won the offensive honor outright. The CHS coach believes that Brown had a bigger impact, and his numbers were very good. Brown gained 1,248 yards rushing with 16 TDs, and he caught 22 passes for 259 yards and two more scores.
“I’m happy for him,” Roman said. “He is an example of a player who bought into everything I asked him to do.”
That included changing positions. He played fullback as a sophomore and had a great season. He injured his knee at summer camp in South Tahoe after his sophomore year, which forced him to miss his entire junior season. He came back strong this year.
“I felt like he’d come back strong,” Roman said. “He put a lot of questions to rest right away. He was a real workhorse for us. He was dependable. If we needed four yards, he’d get us four yards.
“He understood the situation. He’d make the right cut at the right time. He probably lost a step since his sophomore year, but he has good explosion, and he was durable. He was able to carry the ball 220 times. I’m hoping to see him get a chance to play at the next level.”
Roman believes Brown could play at the D-2 or D-3 level, and of course he could play at the JC level, too.
Rivera, a three-year varsity player, played middle linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end in his CHS career. It was easy to see he had much more impact playing on the outside. Rivera had 76 tackles, a team-leading eight sacks and nine hurries plus two fumble recoveries.
“The biggest thing about Brady is his motor,” Roman said. “He’s physically gifted, but he’s also gotten the most out of his ability on the field with his attitude. He’s had a great senior year, and it’s gotten him on the recruiting radar, so we’ll see. He finally found a home (defensive end).”
And, getting first-team honors his senior year has made the position changes worthwhile.
“It’s really great (all-region),” Rivera said. “I’m still looking for all-state, so we’ll see what happens. If I got all-state that would be the cherry on top.
“The success that the team had made it all worthwhile. I loved it (defensive end).”
Roman was pleased to be honored again by his peers as the Sierra League Coach of the Year.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “It means that the program is having success.
“You can’t have the type of success we’re having without good assistant coaches. I’m fortunate to have a great group.”