When the football team announced next season’s captains at its banquet Feb. 4, junior linebacker Will Carter was in shock. He had been chosen to lead the Blue and Gold despite missing four games during the season.
Carter’s teammates had voted him to take charge of the defense, and junior offensive lineman Nathaniel Hemingway was chosen to command the offense next season. Hemingway has started every game at center for the Blue and Gold the past two seasons. Carter will look to bounce back from a torn hamstring he suffered last season.
Carter was the South Hill squad’s only linebacker with more than one interception last year. He won the Marty Higgins Award after his freshman season, recognizing him as the best player on the junior varsity team. Sports Editor Kevin McCall caught up with Carter after the football team’s recruiting session Friday to talk about the
responsibilities associated with the leadership position and how he plans to fulfill them.
Kevin McCall: Were you surprised when your teammates voted you as one of the captains since you missed so much time last year after suffering from the hamstring injury?
Will Carter: I was ecstatic. It was such an honor that my teammates chose me. If I didn’t get it, I don’t think it would have been because of my injury, but getting hurt was a big part of me wanting to come back and play again.
KM: Do you feel like any of the earlier honors you received, such as the Marty Higgins Award, will help you in the captain role?
WC: Being a freshman, I was surprised when I won the Marty Higgins Award, but being the captain really reflects my progression in the sport and on the team. I worked hard then to get noticed, and I work hard now since my teammates look up to me as an upperclassmen.
KM: With all the ups and downs throughout the year, how do you plan to motivate the team throughout all 10 games next season?
WC: It’s still early to think about it, but we’re doing four lifts a week and two speed workouts early in the morning to help us stay
focused. I’m still trying to come up with a team motto, but I want to let them know that a lot of it is going to take a lot of sacrifices. We had so many games last season that were so close and we lost by a field goal or in overtime, so these workouts will pay off in the end.
KM: Is there a past captain of the football team who has inspired you at a tough point during the time you’ve played on the team?
WC: I’ve definitely learned a lot from Dan Ruffrage. He really knew how to motivate people on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. It’s tough because the captains only get a few minutes to talk to the team before the game, but he spoke so well that I felt like I was always able to get something out of his speeches.
KM: What off-the-field obligations will you have to handle as one of the team’s captains during the 2012 regular season?
WC: The team has a lot of fundraisers, so we’ll have to organize those and get our classmates and the other players involved in things like the bone marrow drive and the car wash. We also have to figure out what our spirit packs are going to be for Senior Day and meet with the people in charge of that. If a guy ever misses a workout, we need to be on top of it.
KM: Can you talk about how you and Nate will split the captains’ obligations next season?
WC: Nate is just a natural leader. I’ve known that since we were freshmen. He’ll lead the offense and I’ll take care of all the defensive players, but I’m hoping we can instill the combination of our skills and example to every member of the team.
KM: Are there any specific games that the team is especially looking forward to at this point?
WC: No, we’re just looking forward to the start of the regular season and trying to improve on last year’s record. Right now, I have some people in my area that are interested in coming to play at Ithaca, who came up this past weekend. I’m really focused on getting them here at this point so we can break them into the program.