Chase Barbosa barreled his way into the endzone as Anderson led it 20-0 at halftime. The Titans scored from all over the place, including EJ Bryant, who made a big play down the sideline for a touchdown to go up 27-14.
Carlson made it close, but the Titans won 33-28. Anderson is now 4-1 after winning only one game in 2021.
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The Marauders enter this game with a 5-0 record coming off a 51-7 blowout win against Wyandotte Roosevelt last week. Carlson Head Coach Jason Gendron became their fourth coach in four years, after previous coach Landon Grove led Carlson to one of its greatest seasons in school history with a 9-2 record and a share of the Downriver league title. Gendron joined the coaching staff two years ago and finally accepted an invitation for the head coach job prior to the start of this season.
“I’m fortunate to be the head coach at a school where so many folks support extracurricular activities and want the best for our student athletes,” Gendron said. “The transition has been smooth in terms of football operations. There has been an adjustment period for some of the administrative duties being my first time at it. No question, I’m blessed to have a great coaching staff and dedicated athletes here at Gibraltar Carlson.”
Gendron aims to establish an identity of consistency and discipline to this team and kept all of the same coaching staff from The Marauder’s past few seasons.
“Our current staff is in year three together and we do a nice job of complementing each other from our various backgrounds in football. Uniquely, seven of the nine coaches we have in our program are also staff members at our high school. This provides us the opportunity to be vested in the whole player here. I have great trust in my staff and delegate responsibilities. These guys do an exceptional job of accepting their roles and putting our players in positions to succeed.”
Despite the head coach position being turbulent in recent years, The Marauders have had five straight seasons with a winning record and have established themselves as perennial contenders for the Downriver league title. Carlson lost 28-7 in the district championship game against Allen Park last year and will look to make another run at the league and district titles.
“Our culture is built on team over self,” Gendron said. “We focus on an approach to doing business the right way on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Carlson football is blessed with a tremendous amount of support from our administration, staff, parents and community. I’d like to think I’m a players’ coach with an old-school coaching style. I was fortunate to play for two hall-of-famers at Monroe Jefferson in Marc Cisco (football) and Dave Sontag (baseball). Those men instilled many core values in me that I take to my team. We focus on discipline, desire and dedication...along with an energy and passion to give it your all for your brother next to you.”
Carlson is currently sitting in first place in the Downriver league rankings but this week, The Marauders have to get through an improved Southgate Anderson team. Gendron knows the Titans are not to be underestimated.
“Southgate presents our team with challenges on both sides of the ball,” Gendron said. “Their new staff has come in and done a nice job thus far. Their kids are in position and playing hard for each other. It will be one of those games where we better buckle up and be ready to go.”
Carlson will look to utilize its diversified run-game which starts with a strong offensive front that opens lanes for senior running back Omari Cartier and freshman running back Izaiah Wright. It will be key to dominate the line of scrimmage and establish the run against Anderson.
“Being multiple and diverse has helped our offense be successful so far in the running game,” Gendron said. “Our running game starts up front as our line takes pride in coming off the ball and opening up holes for our backs.”
On the flip side, the Anderson Titans are coming into this game after a 21-6 victory over Taylor last week. The Titans will look to start their homecoming weekend with an upset victory against Carlson.
“We play a very, very good opponent, so for us it is about competing hard, playing penalty free football and showing people all the improvements we have made as a program,” Anderson Head Coach Bobby Marten said.
The Titans have endured seven straight years of losing seasons. Last season they finished with a 1-8 record but have shown improvement this year as they currently have a 3-1 record. The Titans have improved after hiring Bobby Marten for the head coach job before the start of the season. Marten was previously the defensive coordinator at Allen Park High School for six seasons.
“Our culture has changed quite a bit this past season,” Marten said. “We are focusing on playing tough hard-nosed football and competing every single day. I feel like we have improved every week, we told them to begin the year that we had to grow up fast for us to have a chance in our league and the kids are doing that.”
A major part of the Titan’s improvement has been due to junior running back/linebacker Chase Barbosa. Last week against Taylor, Barbosa finished with 92 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also added 24 receiving yards and 72 return yards for a grand total of 188 all-purpose yards. On defense he added 10 tackles and 6 sacks for a loss of 44 yards. He is joined on the field by senior wide receivers Collin Thomas and Andrew Gates, as well as senior tight end Ryan MacDonell. They will look to make big offensive plays for sophomore quarterback Jackson Sage. Anderson plays hard and physical, and will aim to compete on every down.
“Our original goal was to win 1-2 games and be more competitive and we have reached that goal,” Marten said. “Now we want to be in closer games with the top teams in our league. We are just trying to be more competitive against the top teams, be more organized and play physical. If we do that, we will be happy no matter the score.”
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