Two of the biggest plays of Bridgewater-Raritan’s 2012 season were classic models of how it has been successful. The Panthers force a turnover and make it a game-changing moment.
The same player was a force in both — senior defensive end/tight end Chris Carter, who has made a non-binding verbal commitment to the University of Massachusetts after considering Miami (Ohio), Buffalo, Fordham, New Hampshire and Monmouth.
Play No. 1 came when Carter took the ball out of the hands of a Franklin back as the Warriors were driving — taking momentum back in a game they trailed. But Carter took off on a 60-yard run to about the Franklin 10. Not long after, graduated standout Mike Pennella scored from a yard out in a 42-21 win.
Play No. 2 came in a North 2 Group V first-round game at Ridge. Carter scooped a loose ball caused by Pennella and Steve Lamorte and ran 35 yards for a score with 2:16 left in the third quarter. The score tied the game at 16-16 and the seventh-seeded Panthers went on to beat the No. 2 Red Devils’ 23-22. Another play in the game came early when Carter and teammates forced Rirdge quarterback Conor Hughes into a safety.
“I hope to make some bigger plays this year,” Carter said.
Carter can’t exactly sneak up on anybody being every bit of 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. But hustle and speed for a big guy helps.
“He’s a special athlete with a good football IQ and understands being around the ball,” said Bridgewater-Raritan coach Scott Bray. “He’s strong and runs well. He’s got great awareness on the field.”
Carter says that he wants his name be “everywhere” this year and added that he wants to “dominate.”
Bray said he wants to let Carter “be himself,” maybe move him inside on defense. But the coach adds that whatever Carter does he’ll be doing it within the Panthers’ system.
“Chris Carter is a special element in what we do,” Bray said.
What Carter also likes is catching the ball and running with it. He scored off a screen pass from quarterback Mike Fair in a scrimmage with Roxbury and caught some long balls from the graduated Donny Stires last season. But the majority of time, Carter will be blocking with linemates.
“I like to push the lineman to work hard,” Carter said. “We are not much of an offense without an offensive line.”