When Lakewood hosted Sequim on Nov. 15 in the first round of the Class 2A state football playoffs, the Cougars had a surprise planned for the visiting Wolves.
The Cougars, who were decidedly a rushing team during their standout 2019 campaign that saw them finish 9-2 and reach the state quarterfinals for just the third time in school history, were going to open up the passing game.
“After we saw them on film, we thought they would be vulnerable against the pass,” said Carson Chrisman, a junior two-way player who was named to the Herald’s All-Area second team both on offense and defense. “They play a lot of Cover-3, and we thought that smash routes toward the seams would be open. We saw some weaknesses and we wanted to attack them.”
Chrisman spearheaded that attack, hooking up with senior quarterback Jared Taylor for three touchdown receptions in Lakewood’s 38-12 victory.
Chrisman amassed seven catches for 101 yards in the contest, part of a season that saw him record 29 catches for 529 yards (18.2 yards per catch) and seven scores in an offense that had almost twice as many rushing yards (2,772) as it did through the air (1,360).
“We were definitely running the ball a little bit more before that game, a lot of ground and pound,” Chrisman said.
Chrisman was voted the Herald’s Athlete of the Month for November by The Herald’s readers, and we caught up with him last week to talk about the win over Sequim, the Lakewood football family and his plans for the future.
Congratulations on being voted Athlete of the Month. What does it say about the support for Lakewood football in the community up there that 318 people voted for you to win?
It was great to see all that support and to get that type of recognition. We’ve had great support from our fans and the community all season.
After the win over Sequim, you guys lost to Hockinson 29-28 to end the season. While that certainly must have been a tough pill to swallow, now that a little time has passed are you guys able to enjoy what you accomplished this season?
I mean, it was definitely disappointing to lose that game because of the potential that we thought we had this season and because of the way that we lost. But we did better this year than we had the last couple of years and we made it to the round of eight for the third time in school history, so I guess that’s something.
You returned an interception for a touchdown against Hockinson on the first defensive play of the game. What’s more exhilarating, scoring on offense or defense?
I don’t really care, honestly. I enjoy both. However I can help the team, whatever it takes. I guess a pick-6 is pretty rare and that was my first one.
How long have you been playing football and what do you enjoy most about it?
I’ve been playing since I started with flag football when I was six. I just enjoy being out there with my teammates, and I think there’s more of a family aspect than in other sports. It’s cool to be a part of.
Why do you think football has more of a family component than other sports?
It’s just a brotherhood and everyone in our program has been there in the hard times and the good times. There’s just this sense of family that we have. And I think football is the ultimate team sport. If only one out of the 11 guys on the field is doing something wrong, the play won’t work. Down to the guys on the scout team, it takes everybody to have success.
Jared had an incredible season. Being around him every day and watching his success up close, what stands out to you the most about him?
He prepares extremely well and he’s really into film. But he’s just a competitor and he’s not going to back down from anything. Our third game of the season, we were down 17-0 at Evergreen. And he led us back, and I think we finished the game in the 40s (41). It was cool to see that and it was huge for us to know that we could do it.
You’ve had to go against him on defense many times in practice. What’s that like?
He’s a pretty scary guy. He’s coming at you full speed and he’s big and strong. I know the defenses we played this year felt that.
Describe the most intense game environment you’ve ever played in.
I think it might have been last year against Archbishop Murphy. They had beaten us pretty good the year before and we were all just ready. We ended up losing by one or two (36-35) but the nerves were going all the time. It was pretty intense. And obviously the Hockinson game, with the chance to go to the state semifinals for the first time. We had a ton of Lakewood fans down there that took a rooter bus.
You’re only a junior, but do you have any plans to play in college or what you might want to study?
I would like to keep playing football, but I don’t have things narrowed down really yet. I’m leaving my opportunities open. As far as education, I’d like to do something related to math or science when I’m older. I like working through problems, much more than I like writing essays. I like science because you get to see a concept and how it’s something you can apply to real life.