HS Football: Mandan’s first-year quarterback Dane Carlson earning teammates, coaches respect

National Sports

Last week Mandan’s offense put 41 points before Grand Forks Central could even sniff the end zone. It was an especially strong season opener for quarterback Dane Carlson: 10-13 for 238 yards and three touchdowns. I spent time with the junior this week, who has been the heir apparent to the spot for a long time.

Dane Carlson had an idea that the starting quarterback job could be his this year.

“I knew that I got playing time last year, the only one other than Kaden [Krause],” Dane Carlson said.

Coach Sheldon wanted a capable backup behind Kaden Krause, so Carlson got to lead a few series for the first couple games of last season.

“We gave him more opportunities as we went through the season, and in all those opportunities he stepped in and looked completely natural,” head coach Todd Sheldon said.

But Carlson didn’t let those reps make him complacent.

“It just didn’t really affect my work in the offseason,” Carlson said. “I just went at it like I’m competing for the job, and whatever happens happens.”

After one week leading the awesome, he’s won the respect of his teammates.

“Dane’s a great quarterback,” receiver Elijah Klein said. “He’s stepped up, and was good last year when he had to in times when Kaden was hurt. This year he’ll easily be ready to take the role as starter.”

But Carlson’s quick to say he still has things to work on, whether it’s spreading the ball around the field or just staying calm out there.

“I get nervous before every game,” Carlson said. “If you’re not nervous, you’re not ready. That’s what I’ve been taught, so I get nervous for a lot of stuff, but I just put my trust in my teammates.”

And if there’s one thing he wants to make sure he does do each week, it’s take care of the ball.

“No turnovers,” Carlson said. “That’s my main thing. I don’t want to turn the ball over once all year.”

Carlson and the rest of the offense will hope to replicate their offensive success.

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