Versatile Sobkiewicz key player for CHS
Stefan Sobkiewicz is your true blue-collar linebacker. He’s not flashy or loud. He quietly goes about his business, and when the game is over he always has seven or eight tackles in the boxscore.
It was that way in 2012 when he was second on the team in tackles with 67, and he’s averaging 8.5 tackles a contest through Carson’s first two non-league games which puts him on a pace to eclipse last year’s mark.
“This year my drive is a lot higher,” Sobkiewicz said while preparing for Friday’s (7 p.m. kick-off) home opener against undefeated McQueen. “I’m trying to play a lot harder. The team has helped bring it out in me. I drive myself, but it helps when the whole team around you has the same attitude.
“Last year it wasn’t that way. I’m feeling more confident. With more experience I’m reading plays better and recognizing them quicker and get to plays quicker. Last year, I was a little slower reacting. I was getting my technique down. Getting the experience last year helped (for this year).”
His play hasn’t gone unnoticed by coach Blair Roman.
“He’s playing really well; he was really active,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “He was very solid last week. He made very few mistakes. He’s not on the edge (of the line) like Nolan Shine is. Stefan was up and down as a JV player. He showed some good things at time. In between his sophomore and junior year he made great strides. He bought into the weight room. There were other kids on paper that probably should have started, but he carried on through the end.”
Sobkiewicz’s value to the Senators doesn’t end with defense.
He’s also serving as the team’s kicker — kick-offs, punting and field goals and point after touchdowns. He saw limited action behind Casey Wolfe last year, and he’s ready for the expanded role this season. The CHS senior is following some pretty good kickers, namely Austin Pacheco and Wolfe. Thus far, Sobkiewicz is 2-for-4 in field goals, is averaging 36 yards a punt and 54 yards on his kick-offs. He barely missed a 47-yard FG against Hug, the ball caroming off the left upright. He has yet to have a touchback this season.
“My max is probably 53 or 54 yards,” said Sobkiewicz about field goals. “I’ve kicked them over 50 in practice. My distance is getting better. I’ve improved by maybe 10 yards from last year. The 52-yard attempt against Reno I kicked too high on the ball.”
The biggest difference between Sobkiewicz and his predecessors is kick-offs. Pacheco and Wolfe routinely put the ball in the endzone for touchbacks. Pacheco averaged 55 and 56 yards, respectively, in his two varsity seasons. Wolfe averaged 57.5 a year ago. With Sobkiewicz, the Senators are putting more effort into keeping the returner inside the 20. Reno had returns to the 21 (twice), the 19 and the 18. Sobkiewicz is averaging 54 yards a kick-off, according to Carson High stats.
“Stefan doesn’t have as strong a leg as the other two,” Roman said. “He does kick the ball very high, so we’re trying to pin guys inside the 20. We did a really good job against Reno. We had great coverage, and that’s all about him hanging the ball up there for us.”
“I’m trying to get the ball to the 5-yard line,” Sobkiewicz said. “If we get the guy inside the 20, it’s better than a touchback.”
And, the Carson senior said there is no pressure following Pacheco and Wolfe.
“There is mainly pressure to be consistent,” Sobkiewicz said. “When you don’t have the big leg, consistency is the key. I wanted to make all my PATs (4-for-5 so far). The field goals will come. I’m not worried about that.”
Pacheco hit 19 of 30 on field goals, but missed 11 PATs in his career. Wolfe was just 2-for-6 in field goals and missed six PATs. Pacheco averaged 40.87 and 38.18 punting in two seasons, and Wolfe averaged 41.1. So, Sobkiewicz is more than holding his own thus far.