Dayton, Carson will play grid openers
Are you ready for some football?
The answer is a resounding yes from Carson coach Blair Roman and Dayton coach Rob Turner. After missing scrimmages last weekend, both coaches are anxious to get the season started this weekend.
Dayton was originally scheduled to host Lovelock tonight at 7. Because the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association banned athletic contests in five counties because of poor air quality, Dayton opted to play at Lovelock. Carson was scheduled to play at Hug at 7 p.m. today, but no games are allowed in Washoe County this weekend. Instead, Carson will travel to Lovelock on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against the Hawks.
It capped a wild day for Carson High Athletic Director Bob Bateman, who spent the day trying to find a venue. At first, he was trying to line up Fernley High for a site because the Vaqueros had the night off, but the NIAA quashed that because of the air quality problem. Then, Spanish Springs called to see if Carson wanted to be part of a varsity doubleheader in Redding, Calif., because Bishop Manogue, the Cougars’ original opponent didn’t want to travel. Bateman said after conferring with CHS principal Ron Beck and Superintendent Richard Stokes that Stokes preferred that Carson play a little closer to home. Lovelock stepped up and offered Carson the facility on Saturday.
The decision certainly made Roman a happy camper.
“I’m stoked about it,” Roman said after a brief outdoor practice on Thursday. “I’m glad it worked out; that we got a venue. I want to thank Lovelock for stepping up and helping us out. Having this game is huge. Not having a scrimmage hurt. We’ll be able to evaluate where we’re at.
“Hug is an improved team. They won their last game of the season, and we haven’t won since Sept. 21, and that’s weighed heavily on our minds. I’m concerned about Hug’s quickness. We need to be able to make tackles in the open field. The important thing for us is to focus on what we’re doing. Offensively we want to execute what we do well and make adjustments from there.”
The lack of a scrimmage robbed Roman of a chance to look at his entire 57-man roster. He said the emphasis will be on winning.
“The game will dictate that (participation),” Roman said. “We’ve got our depth chart set. We’ll start the game with our starters. It would be nice to get a look at a lot of players. I’m just worried about getting a win.”
Garrett Schafer will start under center, and Roman expects him to go the distance.
The only starter who may not play is linebacker Austin Shaffer (shoulder).
Turner, while happy to get an opportunity to play, was concerned whether his team would be ready, especially on offense where changes have been made.
“I don’t feel we’re quite prepared,” Turner said. “We’ve only had two padded practices. Losing the scrimmage was really tough. I don’t know who is ready and who isn’t ready. We’ll be evaluating everybody (the Dust Devils carry 23 players). I don’t feel I’ve had time to work on special teams. You can’t work on special teams when you’re inside. You can’t kick the ball obviously.
“Our defense is pretty solid. We have a lot of returning players on defense, and I put the top JV kids from last year on defense. I don’t think we have a lot of question marks on defense.”
Davis Winebarger will start under center with Skyler Bernston in a back-up role. Berntson filled in at quarterback last season, but he’s really valuable in the defensive backfield. Austin Fletcher will be the workhorse in the offensive backfield while Berntson will see action there, too.
Fletcher, Jack Phillips and Jonathan Joyner are expected to carry a heavy load on the defensive side of the ball along with fireplug Jesus Castaneda.