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Midland Valley football improves thanks to young talent

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LANGLEY — Rick Knight sees the turnovers and can live with them. The Midland Valley football coach knows all about the other, game-winning side of Daniel Carr.

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Quarterback Daniel Carr (1) looks to his receivers downfield during Midland Valley High School football practice.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Quarterback Daniel Carr (1) looks to his receivers downfield during Midland Valley High School football practice.

Against Brookland-Cayce this past Friday, the freshman quarterback overcame mistakes by scoring a touchdown with less than a minute to play. Carr avoided a sack and took off to get the score and, ultimately, the 28-21 win.

But Carr is just one member of a group of young but high-potential players asked to step up this year. His and others’ improvements have helped the Mustangs go 3-1 after an 0-4 start to the season.

“We have some talented young players, but they’ve progressed even faster than we thought they would,” Knight said. “You got to take some of the bad with the good there.”

Players like Daniel Carr, his cousin Dre Carr, receiver Kameron Brown and linebacker Xavier Leaphart have stood out during the stretch. The quarterback and Leaphart are freshmen; running back Carr and Brown are the slightly more veteran sophomores.

Working with the senior class, the relatively inexperienced group has assisted in not only preparing the program for the future, but also bettering the team this season.

The bowling ball-like Dre Carr — Knight deadpanned the back was generously listed at 5-foot-8 with 176 pounds — has rushed for 770 yards and six touchdowns, the same number of scores his cousin has put up on the ground. As a duo, the Carrs have accounted for almost 74 percent of the rushing yards and have 1,602 offensive yards total.

At wideout, Brown’s go-up-and-get-it ability has him receiving attention. His 333 yards have paced the passing game, and the player knows the quarterback Carr’s evasive ability can give him more chances to catch the ball. Knight even recalls a play where Carr was seemingly out of room near the sideline when a throw forced Knight to get out of the way of the ball. But Brown came down with the catch and a first down.

“It’s about being that leader, even when things may not be looking right, to be that leader to put everybody else into the game and involve everybody else,” the freshman Carr said about his role. “And it’s about putting points on the board and continue to win football games.”

Defensively, Leaphart has already made 65 tackles to rank second on the team behind only junior Garret Boatwright.

But Airport and Strom Thurmond are up next as Midland Valley brings its 2-1 region record. However, while recent success with young players mean there’s hope for the future, the immediate future isn’t dark, either.

“There’s going to be some growing pains with them. But it is fun to look ahead and see you got them for two or three more years,” Knight said. “It’s been fun, to be able to compete and get back in it.


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