Freshman running back Stephen Carr is raring to go

Posted on September 16, 2020Categories pjgcjovxTags , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Freshman running back Stephen Carr is raring to go

first_imgStephen Carr | Daily TrojanStanding at 6 feet and weighing 210 pounds, running back Stephen Carr sure doesn’t look like a freshman. As we’ve learned the past two weeks, he doesn’t play like one either. A four-star recruit from Summit High School in Fontana, Calif., Carr turned heads in his first two games in a USC uniform. Carr ran for 188 yards on 18 carries while also picking up 41 yards in the receiving game. “Explosiveness”: That’s the word that comes to head coach Clay Helton’s mind when talking about the freshman running back. When the Trojans held a narrow 35-31 lead over Western Michigan with three minutes to go in the game, USC was looking to move the chains and eat up some time. Carr had other plans, breaking off a 52-yard run that all but ended the game. Carr’s big play ability has been evident, with a 52-yard run in each of the first two games. “Every time he touches the ball, you kind of hold your breath,” Helton said.The transition from high school football to the college game is substantial. Many recruits get lost once they’re forced to learn more concepts and fundamentals. To Carr, the biggest change has been in the speed of the game and the Xs and Os. “It’s much faster up here and you have to make sure you’re on your stuff every play,” Carr said. “It’s not like high school where, because you’re an elite athlete, you get that little room to relax a little bit. Up here, you have to be on every snap.”After arriving on campus, Carr has put in the work, and offensive coordinator Tee Martin believes it’s paying off. Helped by teammates such as junior running back Ronald Jones II, Carr has quickly caught up to the NCAA level of competitive edge. It was a surprise to Martin and the other coaches to see a young player adapt so quickly, but once Carr showed his promise in practice, the coaching staff felt comfortable trusting him in game situations.“He’s doing a real good job as a true freshman to understand our protections, run schemes, footwork and eyes,” Martin said. “It wasn’t a surprise with how he’s playing in games because he’s been doing it consistently in practice.”Carr has made the most of the reps he’s gotten in practice. He bought into the program’s intensity immediately, a mentality that Carr believes is part of the reason he’s been able to contribute so early. The Trojans emphasize attacking at full speed on every play, and that pressure to finish plays and push at a high pace prepared Carr in the offseason to perform at his current level.As other highly touted recruits around the country are working hard to see the field, Carr is already looking like an integral part of USC’s offense. His ability to push through tackles — a theme for this year’s backfield — has paid off as well.“I think some people think of him as kind of a scat back, but when they get up on him and try to hit him they’re bouncing off him,” Martin said. “When you look at his yards after contact, they’re right up there with the best. He’s a complete back.”As far as what Carr’s ceiling is, it’s too early to say. But despite his talent, running backs coach Deland McCullough thinks it is important to keep young athletes levelheaded as their star begins to rise. “He’s pretty doggone good,” McCullough said. “But again, I continue to keep them grounded. I’ve told them ‘I’ve coached guys who have sat in your same seat, I sat in your seat, and we’ve had some success playing the game.’ But as soon as you start hearing how good you are and all these different things like that, you could be setting yourself up for failure.”Carr has had a best-case-scenario start to the 2017 season, but the Trojans have only played two games, and there’s much more work to do. Helton hopes to see him grow in his ability to protect the pass. McCullough wants to build both his confidence and his calmness in big-game situations. But both coaches have one way to describe Carr’s talent: special. For the rest of the season, Carr’s goals are simple: to make the most of every opportunity. He’s made a splash in his first two weeks, but the work is only getting started for No. 7.last_img read more

Thursday game honors catcher killed by drunk

Posted on January 11, 2020Categories jxglxhsnTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Thursday game honors catcher killed by drunk

first_imgSAUGUS – Lauren Blaire would be 27 now, holding the keys to life in her hand. But the vibrant, talented Blaire was immortalized nine years ago as an 18-year-old Saugus High School softball player when she was hit broadside and killed by a drunk driver. Each year, the girls who have followed Blaire on the softball field honor the one-time catcher in a memorial game her parents attend. Nick and Donna Blaire bring two horribly intertwined messages: their daughter’s life is one to celebrate, and drunk driving kills. This year’s game pits Saugus against Canyon High and will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday at the William S. Hart PONY League Complex in Valencia, where many Santa Clarita high school players learned the game as youngsters. Members of the team feel they knew Blaire and say they’re honored to play her game in her memory. Many of them are 18; many, like Blaire, are looking forward to playing in college, looking ahead to life. “It’s really nice that we have this game because I think it makes you more aware. It makes me think you can be the victim even if you didn’t drink,” said Saugus catcher Claire Donyanavard, 18. “She was a catcher – that’s my position. It could be someone just like me.” The seniors on the team decided this year that each would write an essay to apply for the scholarship offered annually in Blaire’s memory. Seniors are invited to write about the dangers of drunk driving, and the team thought it was important that all those eligible participate, Donyanavard said. A committee headed by the Blaire family will judge the essays and award two $1,000 scholarships to the winners. There will be a 50/50 raffle at Thursday’s game to help maintain the scholarship fund. Over the years, contributions have come from parents, players, coaches, family and friends. Blaire died early on the morning of Jan. 11, 1998, at Plum Canyon and Bouquet Canyon roads when Saugus resident James Bent, then 30, slammed his vehicle into her car. Bent’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the limit at which one is considered drunk. He had two previous drunk-driving convictions in other states and in this case eventually was sentenced to 10 years in prison. At the time, principal of Saugus High urged students to turn their anger at Bent into positive memories of Blaire. The message isn’t lost on the Lady Centurions. “It makes me proud our school takes the time to tell us her story,” Donyanavard said. “And it’s nice her parents do this every year.” pat.aidem@dailynews.com (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more