Buddy Ryan implemented the 46 defense back in the 1980s, and it was a huge reason why the Chicago Bears won the 1985 Super Bowl.
Carson High has its own version of the 46. It’s not a defensive alignment, just two individuals, Asa Carter (No. 4) and Abel Carter (No. 6), who are enjoying good seasons on both side of the ball this year.
The Carters are the last two of a long line of brothers who have worn Blue and White. And, they are upholding the family tradition of athletic success.
Senior Asa Carter, the reigning Sierra League Player of the Year, has 47 tackles, two interceptions, one caused fumble and two blocked punts. On offense, he has carried 43 times for 513 yards and six scores, and he has 13 catches for 185 yards and four TDs.
Younger brother Abel, just a sophomore, leads the team in rushing with 900 yards on 79 carries. He has nine TDs rushing and four games of 100 yards or more. He has caught four passes for 86 yards and a score. He also has a 70-yard kick return for a score. On defense, he has developed into an every down player, racking up 21 tackles from his hybrid linebacker/safety spot.
The duo have a lot of respect for each other, and both enjoy seeing the other succeed.
“It’s nice playing with Asa,” Abel Carter said earlier this week. “I know I can ask him a question about offense or defense. This isn’t anything new, we’ve been playing together since we grew up.”
“It’s really nice,” Asa Carter sad. “Josh and Paul got to play together on varsity. We’ve always played together on the playground.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the brothers have been virtually unstoppable. Asa, though he has fewer carries, averages nearly 12 yards per attempt. Abel is averaging 11.4. Both have the ability to score from anywhere on the field, and both are critical cogs in the Senators’ high-powered offense,
Abel Carter has opened up quite a few eyes around the league. After a rough debut against Reed (3 carries, 14 yards), the CHS sophomore has absolutely lit it up. In his last eight games, he has three 100-yard-plus efforts and a 203-yard effort against Douglas last week on just seven carries.
“I felt it (this kind of year) was possible, but it was a little bit of a surprise,” the younger Carter said. “It’s very different from playing freshman football. The scrimmage against Reno, it was so much faster than freshman football.”
Neither head coach Blair Roman or older brother Asa are surprised.
“I’ve known Abel for several years,” Roman said. “I always knew he was going to be a good football player. As a freshman last year, he was head and shoulders above everybody else in the freshman league.
“Coming into the season, it was hard to project how he would transition to varsity. As a freshman I saw glimpses of his talent. During the summer and the first couple of nonconference games, you could see the talent he had.”
Added Asa Carter, “I think he’s a tremendous running back. He has great vision.”
Those connected with the CHS program said Abel Carter reminds them of Dylan Sawyers. Both have great vision, both make people miss and both can break a tackle when needed. Sawyers was probably more effective as an east-west runner, while the younger Carter is more of a north-south type of guy.
One thing that has become evident as the season has gone along, is the tremendous vision Carter has at such a young age. Vision is something all the good runners seem to possess.
“I guess I’ve just always had it,” Abel Carter said.
“He knows when to make the cut at the right time,” Roman said. “He understands the blocking schemes; understands where the blocks are coming from.”
The biggest adjustment for the younger Carter is learning the playbook, especially with the installation of the hurry up offense the team often employs.
And, Abel has plenty of fans on the offensive line.
“He doesn’t need much of a crease to get through,” said Logan Menzel. “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile. Makes our job easier.”
Asa Carter doesn’t get as many touches as his little brother, but he’s not complaining.
“I’m fine with how I’m used,” he said. “I just want to help the team go as far as it can go.”
“Asa does a lot of things that don’t show up on a stat sheet,” Roman said. “He does a great job blocking on the wing, and he is a great receiver. He only has 13 catches, but he’s averaging almost 15 yards a catch. He’s a very dangerous player out in the open field.”
Asa Carter has several long scoring runs this year, and he’s shown great patience in picking his openings, a sign of his maturity and knowledge. He uses his blockers well. He had an 86-yard run in the 51-21 win over Galena, and he had a 72-yarder against Spanish Springs.
The elder Carter has just two picks compared to eight a year ago, and he has 47 tackles which is tied for fourth best on the team with outside linebacker Jace Keema. As expected, the top tacklers are linebackers Ikela Lewis and Justin Tschetter at 75 and 67 tackles, respectively. Teams appear to be throwing more intermediate routes than deep down-the-middle balls.
“The defensive linemen and linebackers have been taking care of things (run plays) before the play gets to me,” Carter said. “I’ve been banged up a bit, which has stopped me from playing my very best.”
It’s his football acumen, however, he’s like a coach on the field.
“He knows the game,” CHS defensive coordinator Steve Dilley. “He has an unbelievable football IQ. We’re working on him being a little tighter in coverage.”
“His run support has been phenomenal,” Roman said. “He does a great job of reading plays; reading formations.”
Carter has posted two 12-tackle games this season.
Asa Carter wants to play at the next level, and he’ll be looking at schools that also have a track program. He’s looking at Williamette (Oregon) and Dordt College where his older brother, Paul, is a grad assistant.
“I’d like to do both (sports) if I can,” Carter said. Safety would be his position of choice.
His football smarts makes him a prime candidate to coach when he gets older. He admits he has thought about coaching football and track.
Abel Carter, who plays the hybrid/strong safety spot, had a rough opening game on the defensive side of the ball against Reed, but the Raiders have a tendency to look good against some of the best defensive teams in northern Nevada. He has made tremendous improvement, according to Dilley. He has become an every down defender.
“He is more confident back there,” Dilley said. “That’s a tough thing to ask a sophomore, going against Reed. In fairness to Abel, he is in offensive metings more than defense, so he’s having to learn on the run. He’s gotten better every game.
“Abel is really a linebacker. He plays well in the box. He’s is getting better at reading his keys back there.”
The younger Carter admits he’s more comfortable at linebacker, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play alongside Tschetter next year or where Jace Keema currently lines up. Assuming Keema starts at QB next season, that would likely end his days on the defensive side of the ball.
“I’ve played linebacker all my life,” Abel Carter said. “I’ve been working really hard (to improve defensively).”
It’s been a great season for the Carters, one they hope keeps going into December.