December 8, 2009 10:10:00 AM
WEST POINT -- Faith is an integral part of Michael Carr''s life.
Without it, there''s no telling where Carr would be today.
One thing is for sure, though, Carr wouldn''t have been on the field in Jackson on Saturday helping the West Point High School football team win a state title if he didn''t believe in God.
"I can''t describe (my faith)," Carr said. "God has been good to me. He made Himself real to me. Some people don''t believe in God. I am a person who believes in Him, and I already know there is a God somewhere. My faith has brought me a long way."
Carr''s faith helped him play a key role in West Point''s 35-14 victory against Wayne County in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state title game at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The senior wide receiver caught a 64-yard pass from quarterback Justin Cox on the Green Wave''s first play from scrimmage. He also added a 78-yard kick return for a touchdown to open the third quarter that helped propel West Point to its sixth state football title, and its first since 2005.
For his accomplishments, Carr is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
Carr, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder, has given a verbal commitment to play football in the fall at Mississippi State. He is looking forward to the opportunity and knows it is all because of the grace of God that he could get that chance.
Carr said he thought all hope was lost when he flunked his eighth grade year. But he said he heard the Lord deep down inside of him telling him, "You''re going to make it, you''re going to make it. You''re going to be great."
From that point, Carr realized his lesson was a way for God to motivate others not to drop out of school and not to give up God.
"He made Himself real to me," Carr said. "My faith is strong. He is the One who brought me this far. He will never leave me."
Carr continues to realize he has been called to the ministry. He knows it is a special responsibility to proclaim God''s word and to serve God''s people in whatever way he can.
Carr has found the best way he can do that is through athletic competition.
On the football field, Carr is a game-changer who can affect a game with one touch of the ball.
Some people might argue Carr is even better on the basketball court. He was there Monday afternoon, two days after winning a state title in football, preparing for his first practice with the Green Wave boys basketball team.
West Point coach Chris Chambless said Saturday night that Carr has impacted his life and that he is a special young man. He believes Carr has the potential to do great things if he stays focused on his academics and continues to work hard on and off the field.
"He is a very humble, religious young man," Chambless said. "He is still learning, as we all are, but he is on the right track."
Chambless said Carr received his calling to the ministry in the summer. He saw a more mature player when the Green Wave returned for preseason workouts and a senior who set a solid example as a leader.
"He understands what he has to do and is willing to do whatever it takes," Chambless said. "
Carr said early in the season that staying humble would be a key for the Green Wave. He epitomized that feeling Saturday night when he returned to the West Point sideline after scoring on the kick return. He stressed to his teammates that the game wasn''t over and that they needed to keep playing hard to finish Wayne County.
Carr did that, catching four passes for 128 yards. He also rushed three times for 13 yards and saw time on defense at cornerback. For the season, Carr caught 38 passes for 738 yards and a team-high 16 touchdowns.
Looking back, Carr said he knew he had to make a decision that was going to affect his life. He is glad he chose God because there is no telling what could have happened to him if he didn''t.
"I was going to be without God or be in a world of sin and suffer," Carr said. "I would rather suffer with God. When you''re with God and suffering, he is making you more like Jesus himself. It is helping me and making me better."
Carr hopes to continue to set the example by living life the right way. He said if people fail to do that they don''t deserve to say his name. He hopes he will remain true to his words and to his actions and continue to serve God in whatever he does.
"If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him," Carr said.
On Saturday night, Carr and the Green Wave reaped the benefits of staying true to their hard work and sacrifice. He hopes he will be able to stay on that path and to earn opportunities to shine on stages where he will have a chance to showcase the gifts God has given him and to proclaim his love for God.
"I am glad we won a state championship, but I am hungry for more," Carr said. "Nothing has been given to me. I have always had to take what I have gotten. The Lord has always given me opportunity. The only thing we have to do is go take it. I have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things in life. God has given me that, and I am going to take it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.