Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

July 8, 2014

The Holt Report: Carter made a difference on the field and in life

EDMOND, Okla. — As a Stillwater High assistant and head football coach, Rusty Atkins always stressed to his players the need to make a difference on the field but also in life.

“We always told them that football is a great game but we encouraged them to be the type of kid that makes a difference and is a positive influence everywhere,” said Atkins, who is SHS’s head track coach.

Blake Carter, Stillwater’s standout defensive back, took that message to heart. He made a difference on the field and in life. He not only left an impressive legacy as a Pioneer defensive back but also became an outstanding defensive back at the United States Naval Academy, where he graduated in 2010.

“Blake was one of those kids who lived that message. He was one of the kids that you wish you had 22 others just like him. He was just a loveable young man that I consider one of my kids and there’s just a few you can say that about,” said Coach Atkins.

Coach Atkins was devastated last week upon hearing the news that Lt. Carter, who was serving as a surface warfare officer on the USS Wasp, unexpectedly died at his home in Norfolk, Va., at 27 years of age.

His funeral is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sunnybrook Christian Church.

Carter, the son of Craig and Phyllis Carter, exhibited early signs that he had special potential in football.

“When he first came to me I knew he was going to be a D-I football player,” Coach Atkins noted. “He was such a quick learner and a very aggressive kid. He wanted to be the in-your-face type of defensive back. He was very disciplined and worked hard to make himself the best he could be.

“He was never an issue. He was early to meetings and usually stayed late. We had lunch together a lot of times and would watch film at that time. He was strong and had physical hands. When we had him on one side and Craig Andrus on the other we were pretty good on defense. I’d say he is probably in the top five best defensive backs we’ve ever had.”

Carter came from an athletic family. His father, Craig, played football at Oklahoma State and his brother, Brian, was a starting basketball player for the Pioneers. At Navy, he was a standout defensive back from 2006-2009, making 25 starts for the Midshipmen.

He played on Navy teams with a combined record of 35-18, won the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy four times and played in four bowl games.

“I really thought he might have an outside chance of making an NFL squad because he does make a significant difference,” Coach Atkins said.

“It’s just a huge loss. I’ve been really struggling since I got the phone call.”

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