When Abel Carter burst onto the varsity football scene last year as a sophomore running back, he put up some pretty impressive numbers.
He rushed for 1,161 yards and scored 11 TDs, caught six passes for 106 yards and a score, and he also registered 30 tackles and intercepted two passes for the Carson Senators.
Hard to believe those numbers would be vastly overshadowed by his performance this year, but they have been.
Heading into today’s playoff opener against Reno, Carter has gained 1,769 yards on the ground and scored 23 rushing TDs to go along with a passing TD, a receiving TD and two interception returns for scores. He has a streak of nine straight 100-yard games and 15 for his career in 21 contests.
“I wanted to get over 1,000 yards again and score 15 touchdowns,” Carter said earlier this week when asked about personal goals. “What I’ve been trying to do is get better everyday.”
The most impressive thing is he hasn’t had a full supporting cast all season. Wingback Greg Wallace missed the entire season with a knee injury, quarterback Jace Keema suffered a season-ending injury against Bishop Manogue, and all-league lineman Bryceton Schilling dislocated his knee against Douglas.
So, it’s been a heavy dose of Carter with a little Spencer Rogers and Tyler Huling sprinkled in during recent games. Carter has been a marked man yet he still breaks tackles and gains yards.
He has taken some hits, but runs like a Timex watch — takes a licking but keeps on ticking.
“Abel has had a great year,” Carson head coach Blair Roman said. “Because of injuries, we’ve had to use him a lot more.”
The 5-9 180-pound junior has put himself into position for 4A Regional Player of the Year honors, Sierra League Player of the Year honors, or at the very least Offensive Player of the Year. His biggest regional competition come from Reed’s Tre Bussey and Reno’s Brandon Kaho, Damonte quarterback Cade McNamara is his main competition for Sierra League honors.
Abel’s older brother, Asa, won back-to-back Sierra League Player of the Year honors, and he was the region’s top offensive player last season. Certainly a tough act to follow. Abel is the seventh of eight Carter boys to play football at Carson, and before all is said and done, he may be the best.
“In terms of performance, you have to look at what Asa accomplished,” Roman said. “Two straight years he was Sierra League Player of the Year and last year he was the top offensive player in the region. He was all-league three straight seasons.
“Asa could take over a game when he needed to, and he had a (tremendous) will to win. Abel still has another year. He has a lot to live up to.”
Paul Carter isn’t at all surprised about his little brother’s success.
“Abel’s been going since he was little,” Paul Carter said. “Even when he was 2 or 3 he’d be out there running around with us. He has had six older siblings play football, and you can’t simulate that. He’s been blessed to have that in front of him.”
And, Abel said Asa and Paul have always been there for him.
Carter’s success can be traced to a few different things — great first step, outstanding vision and pure power.
“They were each tough to tackle,” Roman said. “Asa was graceful when he ran, Abel is more powerful. His first step and vision are phenomenal. You can’t coach vision. Asa was pretty good (in terms of vision), but Abel is up there with Dylan (Sawyers).”
“I guess it (vision) comes naturally,” Carter said. “I’ve always had it I guess.”
Speaking of Sawyers, Carter is on pace to pass him for career rushing yardage.
Sawyers left Carson with 3,723 yards rushing, and that total could have been more if not for injuries. Carter has 2,880 thus far, and he’s yet to miss a game. Barring injury, he should eclipse Sawyer’s mark midway through next season.
Sawyers depended more on east-west running, and Carter is a lot more powerful.
“He is the best downhill runner I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” CHS assistant Shane Quilling said.
Another thing that stand out about the Carters is their work ethic. They all played three sports, and that takes a lot of effort and discipline.
“Our parents,” Abel said when asked where his tireless work ethic comes from. “They taught us to work hard at everything.”
“The thing about the family is that all the kids were so disciplined,” Quilling added.
Carter’s value to the Senators extends to the defensive side of the ball. He intercepted two passes and returned both for scores in the season-opening win over Desert Mountain, and he averaged more than seven tackles a contest.
“He (Abel) is so solid defensively,” said CHS assistant Steve Dilley. “He’s probably one of our best tacklers.”