ST. PAULS — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 30, The Robesonian’s sports staff is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and St. Pauls’ Kalvin Carpenter starts off the list at No. 15.
As a rising senior for the Bulldogs secondary that returns three of its four starting defensive backs from a year ago, Carpenter will be the top corner, drawing the best receiver across the line of scrimmage each week. This season, Carpenter and the rest of the St. Pauls secondary brings swagger with them.
“That’s lockdown. We all trust each other and we all feel comfortable, and we feel like everybody can play with their man and play on the ball,” Carpenter said. “I feel like any ball that is coming over to me is an interception.”
In a conference dominated with run-based offenses, there are still teams, like in-county foe Fairmont, that lean more to the passing game, but Carpenter and the defensive backfield are ready for whatever challenge they go up against each week.
“I feel with all of us coming back, we’re a lot stronger,” he said. “But you know about everyone in our conference can run the ball so that’s why we’ve had to come get more physical in the weight room and get stronger.”
Last season, Carpenter led the Bulldogs’ defense with four interceptions, but has more on his mind and proper motivation.
“I want to get an interception each game because my dad said I can’t get more than him when he was in high school and he had 11,” Carpenter said. “That’s what I’m working on right now.”
St. Pauls finished 5-7 last season and made an appearance in the NCHSAA 2AA state playoffs, before its first-round exit at the hands of East Duplin. Carpenter and the rest of the St. Pauls seniors want more to come from this season and have taken leadership to heart.
“I was pleased and I think we can do better than we did last year, I think we can go far,” Carpenter said. “I’m making sure to bring the young boys into the weight room and get bigger.”