Asa Carter and Ikela Lewis capped their high school careers at Carson High by taking home top honors.
Carter, who accounted for a combined 1,139 yards rushing and receiving, and chalked up 63 tackles with two interceptions, was named the Sierra League Player of the Year and the regional Offensive Player of the Year in a vote of Division I coaches recently. Carter was also a first-team pick on offense and defense for the second consecutive season. It was the second POY honor for Asa Carter, who’s generally regarded as one of the best players in the region.
“I didn’t expect it,” Carter said during a break from basketball practice on Monday. “I’m surprised I got it two years in a row. I thought the receiver from Damonte (Elijah Sapico) might get it. He is really good.”
Carson coach Blair Roman, who has guided Carson to six league/conference titles, wasn’t surprised. He believes Carter is the best player in the region.
“Asa was a difference maker,” Roman said. “I believe he is as good as anybody in the region. I’m not taking anything away from Matt Denn (Reed quarterback), but to me I’ve coached the best player in northern Nevada the last two years. Asa isn’t a vocal leader, but he is a leader. He found a way to carry us (at times). We need somebody to step into that role next year.
“His yards per carry improved by three yards this year, and he had more receptions this year. As a wingback, he was asked to block a lot, and he was as good as anybody around. He is a complete player and definitely our team MVP.”
Lewis, who led the team in tackles for the second straight season with 104, was named the Sierra League Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a first team all-region selection at linebacker.
“Wow,” Lewis said when informed of the honor. “It’s really a blessing for sure. It’s so awesome.”
“We built our defense around Asa and Ikela,” Roman said. “Ikela did just as well this year as he did as a junior. He was around the ball all the time. He gave opposing teams a lot of problems.”
Carson, which finished 10-2 and won its third consective Sierra League title this year, had running back Abel Carter, tackle Eddie Duarte, wide receiver Connor Pradere, guard Kevin Rusler, kicker Johnny Barahona and defensive end Jacob Drahos as first-team selections.
Duarte and Rusler were a big reason why the Senators had such a dominant running game. The duo combined with tight end Corey Jasper, Logan Menzel, Austin Ackerman and Bryceton Schilling to help CHS average around 340 yards rushing per game. Rusler and Duarte were two-year starters. Jasper, Menzel and Schilling were all second-team selections.
“Kevin Rusler is pound for pound the best linemen I’ve ever had,” Roman said. “He might be pound for pound the best football player I’ve ever had here. He has had a great career. Eddie had a good season. The coaches around the league liked him.
“I was happy to see Bryceton recognized. He has improved significantly since the start of the season. Seeing Logan get second team was a nice honor. He does a great job on double teams and on run blocking. For Corey to get second team (without a catch) was big. A lot of teams don’t utilize the tight end the way we do. His blocking was solid, and that’s why he made it.”
Barahona went 7-for-10 on field goals and missed just one PAT all season. He also had 21 touchbacks on 83 kick-offs.
“This is just the start for Johnny as far as I’m concerned,” Roman said. “He was an outstanding kicker this year, and with another year in the weightroom, should have a great senior year.”
Pradere finished with 44 catches, averaging 15 yards a reception, and also scored seven TDs.
“Connor had a great career here, and topped it off with an outstanding senior year,” Roman said. “He stepped up when we needed it the most and made a lot of big plays late in the season.”
Abel Carter burst onto the varsity scene in impressive fashion, rushing for a team best 1,161 yards and 11 scores, and he also caught six passes for 106 yards and a score. He also averaged 22.5 on nine kick-off returns, one of which went for a TD.
“Abel’s success surprised me a little,” Roman said. “I knew I had a good running back that would really help us, but to have him do as well as he did, I feel strong about the next two years.”
Drahos finished with 51 tackles, four sacks and three hurries.
“What a great senior year he had,” Roman said. “He worked hard and bought into what we were doing. He is a self-made football player.”
Besides the offensive linemen already mentioned, other second teamers were quarterback Joe Nelson, who threw for 14 TDs, running back Greg Wallace, defensive tackles Sheldon Miller and Connor Sievers, linebackers Justin Tschetter and Jace Keema, and defensive backs Spencer Rogers and Caulin Bartley. Wallace, in his first year as a varsity starter, rushed for 857 yards and 11 scores, and he also caught 14 passes for 125 yards and a score.
Tschetter, Miller, Rogers, Bartley and Keema were key cogs in a defense that allowed around 16 points a game in the regular season.
Tschetter was second on the team in tackles with 93 to go along with three sacks and four hurries,
Miller led the team in sacks with five and also contributed 40 tackles. Rogers was a stout defender from his cornerback spot with 78 tackles. He also intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles, one of which he returned for a score.
Bartley had 42 tackles, one interception and three pass defelctions. Keema had 70 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Sievers had 40 tackles and one fumble recovery.
Punter Brandon Gagnon, linebacker Abel Carter, tight end Ian Schulz and running back Vic Castro V were honorable mention selections.
Castro rushed for 265 yards and four scores, while Gagnon averaged 37.2 per punt.