Scroll down to see Carbon Felt's Facts
Note: Carbon finished with a 4-5 overall record and was last in Region 12 with an 0-5 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
PRICE — For the first time in a decade, there are tangible reasons for people to get excited about Carbon football this fall.
Don’t be mistaken, the program still faces an uphill battle and is once again projected to finish last in Region 12. But, unlike past seasons, there is genuine reason to be optimistic about change.
Last year’s squad laid the foundation by winning four games — as many as the school won the previous five seasons combined — and now it’s up to the Dinos of 2012 to take the next step.
“Last year we had a good start to the season. We didn’t finish the way we wanted, but we definitely accomplished a lot of things last year. We had a good group of senior leadership, and this year I think we have just as good a group,” said coach Jeff Blanc.
None of those wins last year were region wins, as the Dinos missed the playoffs for the 11th-straight season. Against region foes Payson and Juab though, Carbon led at one point in the second half. Moral victories like that have gone a long way toward motivating the players this offseason.
“This year if we can minimize some of those mistakes in the second half and finish some games, we’re capable of pulling off a few region wins and getting into the playoffs,” said Blanc. “It’s something we’ve been talking about in the offseason. One of our goals is to make the playoffs and then see what happens at that point.”
Talk of the playoffs isn’t a pipe dream either like in previous years.
So much of that has to do with the sliver of success Carbon enjoyed last year by starting the season 4-0.
“It was a good boost — and not only for our players but for our school and most importantly our community. We saw a lot of people coming out and supporting the football program, and I think that’s going to spearhead us this year into the start of the season,” said Blanc.
Carbon opens against Grand on Aug. 17, a rivalry that will be intriguing for the first time in years.
There are several intriguing storylines offensively to watch heading into that game, and throughout the entire season.
Last year Carbon switched to the spread offense, and there was obviously a big learning curve associated with that. Quarterback Dakota Cisneros had a decent season in his first year in the offense with 1,225 yards and 10 TDs, but he’s poised for much better things this year.
“Last year was a learning experience, for not only the players but our coaching staff. We’ve made some tweaks in the offseason,” said Blanc.
Even though Carbon has several holes to fill offensively with just five returning starters, a move-in and the good health of another player will help immensely.
As a junior at Emery last season, Dominic Rondinelli rushed for 644 yards and three TDs on 100 carries. He transferred to Carbon in the summer — a major pick-up for the Dinos.
“That will really help us out quite a bit. He’s a heck of a running back. I think he’ll be a huge contributor to us,” said Blanc.
A healthy Jordan Blanc will make a huge difference as well. As a sophomore, he was Carbon’s leading rusher in the veer offense. An ACL tear sidelined him for his junior season, but he’s back to full strength for his senior year. He’ll play wide receiver this year, and he’s one of the fastest players in 3A after placing in the Top 6 in the 100-meter dash at the state track meet last spring.
Cisneros, Rondinelli and Blanc will all be contributors defensively, which was a surprising strength for Carbon last year.
In coach Blanc’s first year as head coach in 2010, Carbon surrendered an average of 36.4 ppg. Incredibly, his team whittled roughly two touchdowns off that average as Carbon only surrendered 21.7 ppg in 2011.
Games against some weak opponents in the preseason skewed that average, but it wasn’t all smoke and mirrors. Carbon was a tougher team physically last year, a trend that should continue this year.
Carbon Dinos at a glance
Coach: Jeff Blanc is entering his third year as head coach at his alma mater, and he’s amassed a respectable 5-13 record in his first two years.
(5 returning starters; Spread offense)
Carbon should be much more efficient offensively in Year 2 of the spread offense. Dakota Cisneros is back for his third year at quarterback, and he’ll have some experience in front of him as Kenny Gill and Tyler Herrera are both returning starters in the trenches. Carbon must replace leading rusher Daulton Nelson from a year ago, but Dominic Rondinelli and Cameron Rutherford should combine for even more production this year. Jordan Blanc will be one of the fastest receivers in 3A, while Zac Hathaway and Kyle Barrett are also expected to make big contributions.
(5 returning starters)
The defense made great strides last year, but duplicating that success will be tough with numerous question marks on the defensive line. Outside of Gill, the line is fairly inexperienced, but there’s some talent coming up. Sophomore Marcus Santi has some good size and John Erickson saw limited time there last year. Rutherford will anchor the linebacking core, which has the potential to be a real strength with fellow seniors Rondinelli and Lane Neese starting there as well.
Coaches preseason Region 12 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 12 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: This time of year most teams are optimistic, and Carbon is right there with them. With a similarly soft preseason schedule as a year ago, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Dinos begin the season with three, four or even five wins. This year though, their success will be measured by region wins. And like last year, they’ll be a significant underdog in every region game. It’s unlikely Carbon will win either of its first two region games against Spanish Fork and Delta, but if the players don’t get too discouraged perhaps they can steal a region win or two the rest of the way and sneak into the playoffs.
Aug. 17 — GRAND, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at American Leadership, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Ben Lomond, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — UNION, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — ALTAMONT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Delta, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — NORTH SANPETE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — PAYSON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 — at Juab, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for Carbon High School
All-time record: 313-461-22 (93 years)
Region championships: 12 (1924, 1926, 1930, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1964)
Playoff appearances: 26
All-time playoff record: 18-23-2
State championships: 3 (1924, 1938, 1951)
State championship record: 3-3-1
Most played rivalry: 52 meetings with Uintah dating back to 1929. Uintah leads 30-20-2. Last met in 2009.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Carbon scored more points in one game than any other team in Utah prep history, a 175-6 win over South Emery in 1926. Carbon set other records in that game by totaling 26 TDs and 72 first downs.
Carbon coaching history
2010-Current — Jeff Blanc (5-13)
2008-2009 — Leo Paur (0-19)
2007 — Tim Tiller (2-7)
2006 — J.P. Salisbury (1-9)
2004-2005 — Lane Herrick (1-18)
2003 — Jeff Jorgensen (3-6)
2002 — Don Gressman (2-7)
1998-2001 — Troy Moynier (15-31)
1991-1997 — Jeff Jorgensen (20-46)
1987-1990 — Don Gressman (14-24)
1982-1986 — Mike Kernodle (10-34)
1979-1981 — Jerry Dyer (4-23)
1974-1978 — Tom Rabb (10-35)
1971-1973 — Boyd Bell (13-15)
1970 — Tom King (2-7)
1969 — Boyd Bell (2-6)
1966-1968 — Louis Mele (1-25)
1962-1965 — Larry Regis (9-27)
1952-1961 — Jackson Jewkes (39-42)
1946-1951 — Preston L "Pres" Summerhays (31-17)
1945 — Jackson Jewkes (4-3)
1944 — George Young (4-3)
1941-1943 — Jackson Jewkes (13-10)
1933-1940 — Preston L "Pres" Summerhays (51-18)
1929-1932 — Vernon Merrill (18-5)
1928 — William Nixon (3-5)
1924-1927 — Carl W. "Stubby" Peterson (29-7)
1923 — Howard N Blazzard (2-3)
1916-1922 — Unknown
1912-1915 — Merrill O. Maughn (6-5)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.