Carson notebook: Estrada ends up being a lift for CHS
When Alex Estrada was asked to move to defensive end by defensive coordinator Steve Dilley, the Carson High senior admitted he was apprehensive.
“I didn’t think I was big enough,” said Estrada before a recent film session in preparation for Friday’s home game against Galena (7 p.m.). “I didn’t think I was strong enough.”
Estrada, who has played in five games, has 15 tackles, a sack and a hurry. He platoons with Connor Chech, playing mostly in obvious passing situations. Chech had a sack himself in Saturday’s 44-13 win over Bishop Manogue.
Estrada missed the opening game of the season. He was hospitalized the week of the Reed game, and was unavailable. When he returned, he was the back-up at safety.
Not for long. Carson wasn’t getting a lot of pass rush from the outside, and head coach Blair Roman decided to make a change.
“He was backing up (Abel) Carter at the hybrid spot,” Roman said. “The third game of the season we decided to move him to defensive end to help the pass rush.
“He’s really done a hell of a job. He played most of the second half against Damonte because they were throwing so much.”
Estrada has proven effective coming from the back side when right-handed quarterbacks roll out to the right. He has the speed to chase down most QBs. The biggest challenge is getting around the beefy offensive tackles or tight ends he goes up against.
“I’ve been working on moves,” Estrada said. “I’m not big enough to bull rush somebody. I need to use my quickness. I could do both (play run and pass) if they needed me.
“I took to it (the new position) really fast in terms of learning my assignments.”
The one game that stands out so far is the 17-14 win over Damonte.
“I was in on a couple of sacks,” Estrada said. “I forced him (Cade McNamara) to hurry a a couple of times.”
Stopping the passing game is not all about sacks. It’s just as much about getting the quarterback out of his comfort zone, and Estrada has been in the opposing bacfield a lot.
The Senators hope to have tight end Ian Schulz back on the field Friday night when they host Galena. Schulz’s season has been hampered by ankle injuries.
Quarterback Joe Nelson had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Roman didn’t feel there was any ligament damage, but he’s unsure whether his starting QB is going to play.
“We’ll have to get Jace (Keema) ready to play in case Joe can’t go,” Roman said. “Vic (Castro) would probably be our emergency quarterback.”
Castro played quarterback his freshman and sophomore seasons at Carson.
Running back Elijah Fajayan probably has ligament damage, according to Roman. He’s definitely out for Friday’s game.
Title at stake vs. Galena
This game can ultimately decide the Sierra League title. Carson has already clinched a playoff berth, and a win nails down a sixth title under Roman. A win would get Carson at least two home playoff games.
“It’s Senior Night, and if the kids want to play a couple of more game at homes, they will take care of business,” Roman said.
Galena, 1-0 and 4-2, is expected to be a solid test offensively.
“They are doing the same thing offensively that they did last year,” Roman said. “They rely on a two-back running game; a power running game. They like to spread you out.
“Galena’s whole thing is balance. They try to keep you off balance, but they want to establish the running game. They have three good backs.”
Jake Berger has rushed for 620 yards and seven scores. He has four 100-yard games. Quentin Mills has rushed for 546 and five scores with a 100-yard game under his belt, and Mateo Lemus has 321 yards and four scores with two 100-yard games.
Carson will face a young quarterback for the third straight time. Sophomore Derek Kline has completed 34 of 61 for 400 yards and five scores. Mills has caught 11 balls for 129 yards and Alec Van Key has 13 catches for 135 yards.
The defense is led by Peyton Sakelarias (40 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries), Bryan Madison (46 tackles), Travis Bohall (38 tackles, 3 interceptions) and Nate King (37 tackles).