Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

HomeTeam 100 spotlight: Days on the pitch are behind Haden Carlson

Once the football bug bit the Steinbrenner quarterback, the son of former NFL player Jeff Carlson, there was no going back.
Steinbrenner's Haden Carlson (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Steinbrenner's Haden Carlson (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Published Jul. 15, 2019

TAMPA — Before Haden Carlson became Steinbrenner’s rugged 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior quarterback, he was many other things.

• He was one of the area’s best soccer players.

• He was a gifted hockey and basketball athlete.

• He was 6 feet, 130 pounds.

All those things, however, occurred before his freshman year at Steinbrenner, where he started playing football for the first time, a fact that is curious because his dad is Jeff Carlson, a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs and New England Patriots between 1990 and 1992.

Related: RELATED: HomeTeam 100 football countdown: Players 91-100

“My dad wanted me to do what I wanted to do and football just didn’t come to the front for me until high school,” Carlson said. “And then it was all football.”

Was it ever.

Soccer, the sport he had devoted 100 percent of his life to, was completely in his rear-view mirror.

“I remember lying in bed my freshman year, so excited to go to the next football practice, even though I was a backup and it was a thousand degrees outside and it was brutal,” Carlson said. “I loved the energy of it with the pads on and everyone running around. I loved the fact I was a quarterback, the position that can control so many things.”

By the time he was a sophomore, Carlson, up to a whopping 6-1, 135 pounds, was the starting quarterback and he started his first game on opening night.

Things didn’t go great

Carlson was beat up and battered because he was new at it and his team was young and inexperienced.

Related: MORE PREPS: Middleton player’s death highlights area’s need for more athletic trainers

The Warriors finished the year 2-7 and had heard a lot of grief from classmates in the halls.

“On the rides home from practice we had a lot of talks because there were a lot of tough times,” Jeff Carlson said. “I had some stories like that to tell from my playing days. I think that helped. Hopefully it did.”

Looking back, the younger Carlson said that year made him better and tougher in every way possible.

“Now I wouldn’t trade the experience,” he said. “There were (about 35) of us who were sophomores together and we all hung in there and kept at it and got better together. Now we all can’t wait for our senior season.”

In the meantime, it’s work, work, work and talk, talk, talk about football all the time with Carlson’s teammates and coaches and, of course, with his dad.

As for expectations, they’ve never been higher.

Carlson, a Florida International University commit who threw for 1,418 yards as a junior, says the Warriors are poised to vastly improve on last year’s 5-5 record that included four straight victories to end the season. This year the Warriors share a district with annual playoff contender Plant, as well as Alonso, Palm Harbor University and Wharton.

“I feel prepared,” Carlson said. “I believe we are all ready for a great year.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Catholic's Kobe Knox dunks for two  of his 12 points in a 68-64 victory over Berkeley Prep on Friday night. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Crusaders don’t lead until the fourth quarter, but edge the Bucs 68-64.
  2. With seniors like Parker Conitz, pictured at left here with fellow Clearwater Shootout Player of the Game Joshua Celiscar of Winter Haven and Clearwater High coach Kris Foote, Seminole believes it can claim another district banner for the gym. [CUCK FRYE  |  Special to the Times]
    Classification and district realignment make the Warhawks’ path to a title not as daunting.
  3. Fivay girls basketball players, from left: Marielis Creque, Jania Jones and Savannah Shaffer. [RODNEY PAGE   |  Times]
    The Falcons are a postseason threat and there’s not a senior to be found on the roster.
  4. Junior Talon Bergantino is among Central's leading scorers this season. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    After taking their lumps vs. their older siblings, Talon and Caden Bergantino have emerged as fierce competitors for the Bears.
  5. Karim Nohra pulls no punches in getting his Carrollwood Day team ready for another playoff push. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Patriot girls notch another lopsided basketball victory with a senior-dominated team.
  6. Kobe Knox, center, and Tampa Catholic regain the top spot in the rankings thanks to recent wins over Leesburg, Naples and Seffner Christian. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
    Tampa Catholic takes over the top spot again after an impressive showing last week.
  7. Tampa Prep's Arianna Mosley (10), center, challenges the Wesley Chapel defense during a December game. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    Little change at the top as the regular season winds down.
  8. Flag football players from left to right: Steinbrenner's Jacqueline Figueredo, Robinson's Emily Kemp, Leto's Anaily Mendoza, along with Martha Minahan at Monday night's (Jan. 20, 2020) sixth annual Bill Minahan scholarship awards dinner. [ERNEST HOOPER  |  Special to the Times]
    Chamberlain’s James Ash, Wharton’s Edwouens Marcelin, Steinbrenner’s Jacqueline Figueredo and Robinson’s Emily Kemp are also honored at the sixth annual awards banquet.
  9. Chamberlain offensive tackle Cesar Reyes said via Twitter on Sunday he plans to sign with USF. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Bulls fortify depth at quarterback and on the offensive line.
  10. Jesuit's Brett Gerena (7) celebrates recovering a fumble in the third quarter of this past season's Class 5A region semifinals. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
    The Black Knights have commitments for 2020 from five locals, the most of any Division I-A program in the country. And they may gain more.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement