Carter’s turnaround spurs WC’s defense|[11/2/06]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

A couple of years ago, football wasn’t on top of Wade Carter’s list of priorities.

The then-sophomore had talent and potential, but he also had plenty of issues off the field. He was running with a bad crowd, getting into trouble and slacking off on his school work.

So he went away for a while. Far away.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

He went to live with his mother in Greensboro, N.C., for a year. In his time there he straightened up, got his act together and decided to work harder in life and school.

Apparently, he also became a pretty good football player.

Carter, a senior linebacker for Warren Central, has gone from unknown to superstar in a few short months. He leads the Vikings with 102 tackles and has been a key member of one of the stingiest defenses in Class 5A.

&#8220Wade is one of those bright spots. Two years before he went through some tough times. But through his athletic ability he’s come through it and become a good player,” WC head coach Curtis Brewer said. &#8220The thing that’s good about it, is it’s an example of a player stepping up and saying ‘I’m going to get something right and work at it.’ The credit goes to Wade.”

As a sophomore, Carter was a promising young linebacker for Warren Central. After moving to North Carolina, he played football but didn’t describe himself as a standout player.

When he returned to Vicksburg, Carter also returned to WC’s football team and, like his outlook on life, was a changed man.

The coaching staff put him in the rotation at tailback and touted him as a possible starter in the preseason. A nagging ankle injury nixed that idea, but did allow him to focus on playing linebacker. It turned out to be a good move.

Carter has reached double figures in tackles in four of WC’s 10 games and had seven or more tackles seven times. He’s also picked off two passes, recovered two fumbles and made 14 tackles for loss.

Carter has seen some playing time on offense this season, as a backup fullback. But his emergence at linebacker coupled with the ankle injury has limited his time on the offense.

&#8220He became such a valuable part of the defense that it put the emphasis on making sure he could be in that role,” Brewer said.

Carter said his showing this year was simply the realization of what could have been all along.

&#8220It’s finally growing up and being the person I could’ve been three years ago,” Carter said. &#8220I could’ve been a dandy if I played all four years.”

The WC coaches are happy with the one great year he’s given them, and Carter would like to return the favor. In his final high school game Friday night against Vicksburg, he’ll try to help Warren Central’s defense slow down an underachieving but dangerous Gators squad.

A victory would salvage a forgettable season for WC, which had its run of 21 straight playoff appearances snapped. It would also be a nice way to pay back the coaches who gave him another shot at football, he said.

&#8220I just want to win it for the coaches. They were behind me all the time when everybody else gave up on me,” Carter said.