In six seasons with the Pittsburgh Colts semipro football team, Larry Carson has played cornerback, safety, outside linebacker, running back and wide receiver.
So when starting quarterback Jeff Sinclair went down with a shoulder injury in the fourth game of the season, Colts coach Ed Brosky had no hesitation in turning to Carson, a former Sto-Rox quarterback.
Sinclair led the Colts to a 3-1 start and Brosky called him the best quarterback the program, which has been around since the 1970s, has ever had. Carson maintained the high level of play and led the Colts to back-to-back wins.
"With the guys we have around me, they made it easy," Carson said. "We have really good receivers, they are young, they are fast and they are tough football players. The offensive line stepped it up, too, and decided not to let anyone through."
The Colts (5-1) are scheduled to return to play Aug. 16 against the Oil Region Rampage (6-2) at 6:30 p.m. at Chartiers Valley. Sinclair is expected back for that game while the versatile Carson will move to outside linebacker and wide receiver, playing both ways.
The Colts are on pace to receive a No. 2 seed in the playoffs that begin Sept. 6 and a lot of that has to do with Carson's ability to fill in for Sinclair the past two games. The No. 2 seed ensures the Colts of two home playoff games if they were to advance.
Carson is a 5-foot-11 left-handed quarterback. Like Sinclair, he is mobile and likes to roll out of the pocket.
"Larry's strength is that he is a Colt through and through," Brosky said. "He doesn't waiver from his commitment to make practice, raise money, play wherever we ask him to play. And he is the guy that is the lightning rod when I need to chew somebody out to make a point. His value is generated from his commitment to us. The guys see it and they feed off it."
Carson tossed three touchdown passes while playing quarterback.
"He has thrown touchdown passes and he has caught touchdown passes," Brosky said. "I have no reservations about asking him to play anywhere."
After graduating from Sto-Rox in 1999 Carson pursued a baseball career in Florida for more than four years before moving back to the area. Initial attempts by then Colts quarterback Paul Leitner to get Carson to play for the team in 2005 failed. But by 2008 Carson decided to give it a shot.
"This is probably the best team I have ever been with," Carson said. "It is a great group of guys with great coaches."
Carson also returns punts and kicks on occasion. Carson, 32, resides in Stowe Township. He was an all-state selection at Sto-Rox.
"He is a tough Sto-Rox kid," Brosky said. "He has been able to escape injury, he is just an athlete. I just love Larry."
Picking up football after 10 years away from the game was not a problem for Carson who did not play since his Sto-Rox playing days in 1998.
"I had an opportunity to get with the Colts in 2005, I should have done it sooner," Carson said.