Carson notebook: Johnny be good for CHS
It was a different Johnny Barahona who took the field for Carson High this year, and coach Blair Roman was quick to notice.
“Number one, his maturity level is night and day (difference) from last year,” Roman said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “Partly because he is a year older. As a sophomore, he was worried about letting the team down, and he put a lot of pressure on himself.
“Another big thing is he bought into what coach (Jim) deArrieta was doing. He got put on a step program starting last spring. You notice we didn’t attempt over a 30-yard field goal until the third week of the season.”
With two weeks left in the regular season, Barahona leads the state in field goals (7) and is the top kick scorer with 61 points. He has been great on kickoffs with 20 touchbacks in 58 kicks, an average of 54 yards per kick.
“I feel I’m stronger (this year), and after the McQueen game I’ve got more confidence,” said Barahona, who kicked a career-best three field goals in the 51-21 win over Galena last week.
Barahona put in a lot of work under deArrieta’s watchful eyes this summer. The junior said he worked out 2-3 times a week, and each workout lasted about 90 minutes.
“I kicked before track season started and after track was over,” Barahona said. “Coach deArrieta talked to me before the season and told me I needed to get my head in the game. He knows what I can do. Last year I would get down on myself when I did something wrong.”
Barahona hasn’t done a lot wrong this year. Besides the kickoffs, he’s 40-for-41 on PATs and 7-for-10 on field goals. He was even pressed into punting the second half of the Manogue game, and he averaged nearly 38 yards per kick.
Barahona’s longest kick this year is 42 yards against Manogue, but he feels he has more range.
“I think I can kick one 53 or 54 yards,” Barahona said. “I’ve hit a 53-yarder (in practice) with a rush.”
It’s nice both Barahona and Brandon Gagnon, the team’s punter, are returning next year. Back-up long snapper Jake Roman is expected to be the No. 1 long snapper next season.
Bye weeks aren’t easy
Having a bye late in the season isn’t as easy as it seems.
It can be challenging for a coach to keep the intensity and interest level up when the players know there’s no game to prepare for. Fortunately, Roman didn’t run into any issues this week.
“We have a very mature group of seniors and our juniors are pretty mature,” Roman said.
The off week comes at the right time in terms of resting injured players.
Defensive end Connor Chech, center Austin Ackerman, tackle Eddie Duarte and tight end Ian Schulz are all nursing minor injuries, but all are expected to play next week.
“We are able to rest 3-4 guys,” Roman said. “We will keep it real light for them. It (the bye) came at the right time in that regard.”
Save for running back Elijah Fajayan, the Carson Senators should be at full strength for next Thursday’s regular-season finale at Douglas.
Fajayan suffered what appears to be ligament damage in the win over Bishop Manogue.
Quarterback Joe Nelson has been practicing all week. According to trainer Adam Hunsaker, Nelson could have played last week in an emergency situation.
There’s a good chance wingback Tyler Huling could be back next week.
“Getting Huling back would be big,” Roman said. “It would be nice to give Asa (Carter) a rest for a series or two on offense. It’s hard to play both ways at a high level.”