December 6, 2009 1:04:00 AM
JACKSON - Michael Carr doesn''t covet glory.
The West Point High School senior believes too much in God to believe the Green Wave''s success on the football field is because of only him.
But the standout wide receiver showed Saturday night why he is one of the state''s top difference-makers.
Carr returned the opening kickoff of the second half 78 yards for a touchdown that helped catapult West Point to a 35-14 victory against Wayne County in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
"They were going to kick the ball to me because they are a great team," Carr said. "They were going to try to stop me, and if they could stop me they could get the momentum. A great player is a leader and in your head you can''t be stopped. I give God all of the glory for that. I just did what I had to do and took it back. Once they found out they couldn''t stop me, they found out they couldn''t stop the whole team. It was great."
Carr also caught four passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, rushed three times for 13 yards, also played some defensive back to help the Green Wave win their sixth state football title.
Carr''s performance on the state''s biggest stage came after a less than memorable ending in the team''s season opener. In a 27-20 loss to Shannon, Carr had a potential game-winning interception go through his hands into the waiting arms of a Shannon player for the clinching touchdown.
The play sobered Carr after that game and re-dedicated him and his teammates. It also reminded them that they needed to stay humble if they were going to realize their goal of winning a state title.
The word humble was on Carr''s mind Saturday night after he helped the Green Wave (14-1) cap a 14-game winning streak.
"I have been telling you all year, stay humble and keep God first," Carr said. "I just thank God for this. Our team stayed humble and look what we got."
Carr said he was willing to step into a bigger role without junior running back Jacoby Lee, who was injured last week in a victory against New Hope in the North Half State title game. He showcased his running ability by taking three direct snaps to keep the Wayne County defense off balance.
At 6-foot-3, he also gave the War Eagles secondary fits by using a variety of moves, including a nifty turn-and-go move that gave him plenty of space and allowed junior quarterback Justin Cox to show off his touch to get his playmaker the ball.
"I just worked hard," Carr said. "I give God the glory. It means a lot to win a state title. I feel like it didn''t happen. It happened so fast, and they''re turning the lights out now, that''s how fast it happened."
West Point High coach Chris Chambless credited Carr for helping to fill the void left by Lee. As well as Carr played, he said the team''s balance was equally important because the Green Wave have so many weapons that it made trying to stop just one player a difficult proposition.
After the game, Chambless hugged Carr for a few seconds and shared a special moment. He said he showed his focus after the touchdown return and throughout the season.
"He is very humble," Chambless said. "The first thing he says when he gets to the sidelines as everyone is congratulating him is, ''No, it ain''t over. Calm down. We still have some more ball to play.
"He made a difference in my life just being the kind of kid he is. Going through the trials and tribulations we went through of him being a big-time player and me being a coach having to make decisions for him and sometimes things didn''t go well, we made it through some bumps in the road and some things. He had made me a better coach. When I was feeling down, he pepped me up, and when he was feeling down I pepped him up. It is a great relationship not only with him but with his other teammates and me with him and his other teammates."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
Boomer commented at 12/7/2009 10:25:00 AM:
Mike is one of those special players that will be missed in West Point nation. Best wishes to him with Mississippi State
Indy Wave commented at 12/7/2009 7:33:00 PM:
I first saw Mr. Carr at a MSU football camp my son attended this past summer in which he displayed his special talents among some good talented players there. If he continues to stay humble, work hard, and let God lead his path, he could make a major impact in Bulldog Nation!
1. Stovall continues to overcome obstacles COLLEGE SPORTS
3. LSU beats Louisiana to keep softball seeds perfect COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Ole Miss will face Auburn today in SEC tournament COLLEGE SPORTS