Cayman Carter has one final high school football game left to play before college. That contest is the 54th Brea Lions Club Orange County North-South Prep All-Star Football Game.
Carter has been preparing for Friday's game at Orange Coast College for the past two weeks. A high school football game in the summer might feel odd, but Carter said he's looking forward to the 7:15 p.m. kickoff.
Carter, a quarterback, will get to represent Corona del Mar High once more with two teammates, defensive end Tim Reinhardt and kicker Griff Amies. The last time the trio played, almost seven months ago, it led the Sea Kings to a second straight CIF Southern Section Southern Division title.
Carter's South All-Star team plans to run the same no-huddle offense CdM ran. It helps that CdM Coach Scott Meyer is in charge of the South and his staff includes his assistants from CdM.
Carter showed last fall during his first season as CdM's starting quarterback that he could engineer quick scoring drives.
The morning after the OC All-Star game for seniors, Carter will be making a long drive. At 6 a.m., Carter hits the road. He and his father, Berry, are making a 22-hour drive to Dallas, Texas.
The next chapter in Carter's football life will be at Southern Methodist University. He is a preferred walk-on player.
"The road trip is going to be a straight shot," said Carter, who starts the first day of SMU player-run summer practices on Monday. "My dad will do the first 11 [hours], and hopefully I can do the second 11."
Carter hopes to rest on the first leg of the drive. He will need to with his style of play.
Carter isn't afraid to run and lower his shoulder against anyone trying to stop him. His numbers prove how effective he was with his feet, rushing for 1,073 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Carter might throw more than run out of shotgun formation come Friday, and he has a good arm. He passed for 2,210 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only six interceptions.
Carter, the All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division Offensive Player of the Year, Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year and Pacific Coast League MVP, can hurt a defense in a variety ways.
He's smart, knowing he has three standout tailbacks to hand the ball off to on Friday. Two of those are Newport-Mesa running backs, Newport Harbor's Talalelei Teaupa and Estancia's Robert Murtha.
There are six players from Newport-Mesa schools on the South roster. The lone offensive lineman of the group is Newport Harbor's Zach Cornwell, who will block for Teaupa and Murtha.
Teaupa and Murtha are tough runners and have the ability to run inside and break a long run. The two have been competitive during the eight practices, and it's understandable why. Teaupa and Murtha are bound for OCC, where they plan to compete for the starting job.
Their first chance to demonstrate what they have on the same field is at LeBard Stadium, OCC's home.
"We kind of run the same," said Teaupa, who rushed for an area-best 1,662 yards, to go with 11 touchdowns, earning him All-CIF Southern Section Southwest Division, third-team All-Orange County, Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year and Sunset League Offensive Player of the Year honors. "I'm more of a downhill runner and he likes to move a little more."
Teaupa said he has gotten to know Murtha and the field he played on during his three-year varsity career at Estancia. The South held five practices at Estancia's state-of-the-art Jim Scott Stadium, which features turf.
That field is where Murtha went on to set Newport-Mesa career records for yards rushing (5,489) and touchdowns (58). He garnered All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division, Dream Team and Orange Coast League Offensive Player of the Year accolades in each of his three seasons.
"I like turf," said Teaupa, who is playing in his second all-star game, the first was the AIGA Foundation Polynesian All-American Classic at La Mirada High in January. "It's way easier to run on turf. I feel faster."
Carter also enjoyed the practices at Estancia that led up to Friday, but CdM's field, even with its poor conditions, has a special place in his heart.
That CdM field is where Carter became a leader, where he and his teammates became champions.
Carter has one more shot to go out a winner before he starts his college career.