Menzel helps pave way for rush attack
One of the most impressive things about Carson High’s football team this year has been the play of its offensive line.
The Senators, who are 4-1 overall entering Friday’s home game against Damonte Ranch, are averaging 355 yards a game on the ground. And, one of the workhorses up front is 5-10 260-pound senior Logan Menzel.
Menzel has started games at both tackle and guard this year after starting part-time on the defensive line last year.
Menzel originally played defensive tackle last year, but was moved to offensive tackle the last half of the season when Carson had some offensive linemen banged up.
Over the summer, line cach Jim Franz talked to Menzel about playing a little guard. The CHS senior admitted a little trepidation.
“I started taking reps at both positions,” Menzel said earlier this week. “It was a whole new position to learn and a new set of rules.
“The nice thing, though is that the rules are pretty much the same. Whether you play guard or tackle, you are asked to down block. The biggest difference is you get to pull, and I like getting out there and hitting a linebacker.”
Still, Menzel admits it’s been disconcerting switching back and forth this year.
Most of the movement has been because of injuries. Bryceton Schilling got hurt early in the season, but has since returned. Center Austin Ackerman missed a recent game. Tackle Eddie Duarte moved to tight end for one game because of injuries to Ian Schulz and Josh Thompson.
“Unless we have some injuries, I think I’ll be staying at guard,” Menzel said. “I’ve started the last two games (Spanish Springs and Hug) at guard.”
No matter where Franz has put Menzel, he has produced. His weekly report card includes an A against Spanish Springs and Bs against everybody else.
“He’s been playing solid,” Franz said earlier this week. “He’s the type of athlete who is more suited for guard (than tackle).
“We’ve been working on his pulling, and he’s getting better at that. He’s had a few flatbacks.”
Obviously he’s asked to help out with pass protection, and sometimes he’s helping double-team an interior lineman and other times he has his own 1-on-1 match-up to win.
“The last couple of weeks I haven’t had anybody in front of me, so I’ve just been helping (a teammate),” Menzel said. “Damonte plays an even front, so I’ll have somebody over me most of the night.”
The most impressive thing about Carson’s line play is its starting lineup has changed almost weekly. The team has started three different tight ends (Schulz, Thompson, Duarte), two different centers (Corey Jasper and Ackerman) and four different tackles (Menzel, Schilling, Duarte and Blaine Soukup). Menzel and Kevin Rusler have been consistent contributors week in and week out.
“We’ve had to deal with a lot of injuries,” Franz said. “We haven’t been able to play our best group together, but all of the people we have moved in and out have stepped up.”
“You have to give credit to the coaches because they have coached us up,” Menzel said.
Menzel and Rusler start at guards, and Schilling and Duarte are expected to start at tackle.
Menzel isn’t surprised by the line play. He said experience has been the key.
“The offensive line is primarily seniors,” he said. “We all work together really well.”
And Menzel likes scoring points, or making a block that leads to a touchdown. That may be why he prefers offense.
Carson has rushed for 22 touchdowns, five by sophomore Abel Carter and four each by Vic Castro V, Asa Carter and Greg Wallace. The Senators are averaging 8.3 per attempt.
He knows Carson will be in for a tough game Friday. Damonte likes to run blitz like Spanish Springs did a couple of weeks ago.
“We’ve been working on building our walls,” Menzel said. “We’re working on things to make sure nobody leaks through.”