CHS football draws tough opening foe
For the second time in four years, Carson High’s football team is venturing out of state to open its football season.
Carson has been invited to play in the Honor Bowl, a two-day event at Del Oro High School in Loomis, Calif. The Senators, who reached the region finals last season en route to posting a 9-3 record, have been selected to play Clayton Valley Charter School, which is coming off an 11-2 season and a Diablo Valley Athletic League championship.
The Carson-Clayton Valley game is one of five varsity games (seven overall) being played over the course of two days at Del Oro.
On Aug. 29 at 5 p.m., Elk Grove takes on Damonte Ranch followed by Kamehameha of Hawaii-Del Oro at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Reed takes on Clovis-North at 2 p.m., Fallon battles Cardinal Newman at 5 p.m. and then Carson closes out the two-day affair against the Ugly Eagles.
“They (Honor Bowl personnel) approached us back in November,” Carson coach Blair Roman said this week. “They emailed us, asking if we’d be interested. I told them that we would, but it would depend on the opponent; who we are paired with. We did some research on Clayton Valley, and it will be a good match-up for us. They have always had a competitive program in that area. I think they are comparable to a good Reed team.
“Their coach (Tim Murphy) is very well respected. It will be a good step up for us to play our first game against a team like that. This will be a great opportunity to measure ourselves.”
Clayton Valley, which runs 90 percent of the time, lost starting quarterback Gabe Taylor (1,500 yards total offense) to graduation, but the Ugly Eagles return running backs Miles Harrison, Justin Zapanta and Ryan Cooper. Harrison (5-10, 200) gained 2,020 yards in 12 games and scored 34 touchdowns while averaging nearly 11 yards a carry. Zapanta gained 139 yards and scored once, while Cooper gained 143 yards and scored once. Harrison caught four passes for 49 yards while tight end Brandon Estrada had three catches for 28 yards.
Clayton Valley’s defense is led by middle linebacker Richard Peralta (127 tackles), Zapanta (69), inside linebacker Elijah Breon (66), linebacker-down lineman Jax Carter (63), safety Luis Ramos (64) and free safety Jake Peralta (48).
Murphy said he and Roman have yet to talk on the phone, but plan to. No doubt film will be shared, but Murphy admitted film from the scrimmage on the 23rd will help more than a film from last year’s games.
“It’s tough when you play these zero week games,” Murphy said. “I’ve played out-of-state teams before. The teams change personnel and it’s tough to get a handle. I’m sure we’ll exchange scrimmage film. This is my third year in the program, and the kids are getting a better feel for what we’re doing.
“Miles is pretty good. He replaced a guy who gained 3,000 yards his senior year. Miles came in and did just as good a job. As a sophomore he had trouble holding onto the ball. Last year he didn’t turn it over once. We don’t throw much, usually single-digit a game. We snap the ball quickly, so guys are getting a lot of carries.”
Carson, meanwhile, is expected to return 27 players from last year’s squad. The Senators lost some key seniors like linemen Aaron Cowee and Andrew Cooper, linebacker Cody Cunningham, running backs Nevin Elliott and Joey Thurman, quarterback Garrett Schafer, tight end Chase Blueberg, linebacker Stefan Sobkiewicz and defensive backs Andrew Gutierrez and Aaron Perez.
Nolan Shine enters the season as the No. 1 QB. He completed his only pass for 5 yards. Seamus Burns, who carried 16 times for 60 yards and a score while relieving Elliott and Thurman, will team with Colby Brown, who gained more than 700 yards as a sophomore but sat out last year with a knee injury. Shine also plays linebacker, and he’s the leading returning tackler with 105. Safety Asa Carter (94) and defensive end Brady Rivera (90) also return. Josue Orozco and Maurilio Olivares return at right guard and right tackle. Dilyn Rooker is the leading returning receiver with 19 catches for 397 yards and two scores.