Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Carter's Corey Avery leading charge against rival South Oak Cliff
Carter coach Patrick Williams shows football highlights to his players each week to get them motivated for their next opponent. The highlights are usually from the NFL or college, but this week was different.
“I showed them that ’88 team,” Williams said.
As in the Carter Cowboys, who won the Class 5A state championship 25 years ago. The University Interscholastic League later stripped the crown from Carter because of grading improprieties, but the players still celebrate the title.
One of those players is Williams, who was a sophomore running back on the team and is now in his third season as Carter’s coach.
“I remember how serious those guys were. We had great leaders,” Williams said. “There was just so much pride.”
Now Williams is trying to bring that pride back at Carter (6-0, 3-0 in District 11-4A), which is No. 7 in the area 4A rankings. On Thursday night, Carter will try to beat South Oak Cliff (6-0, 3-0) for the first time in four years.
A win would be another step toward prominence for Carter, which finished 3-7 two years ago and missed the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. That team was loaded with young players who took their lumps, including sophomore running back Corey Avery.
“It was pretty sad,” Avery said. “That’s like the worst season I’ve ever had. Probably the only losing season I’ve ever had.”
Two seasons later, Avery is a 5-10, 170-pound senior with scholarship offers from powerhouses such as Ohio State and LSU. He said he’s leaning toward signing with Baylor or Texas Tech.
On the field, Avery is usually leaning forward. The “coach’s dream,” as Williams refers to him, has rushed for 1,060 yards this season and is averaging 11.8 yards per carry. His combined 1,161 yards rushing and receiving accounts for nearly 54 percent of Carter’s total offense.
In Williams’ quest to bring the pride back to Carter, Avery has been essential.
“He’s a hard worker and very talented,” Williams said. “He has that rare combination of speed, power, good hands and good vision.”
And once the end zone is in Avery’s field of vision, he has another gear. He has scored on runs of 80, 77, 51, 47 and 43 yards.
“I just believe that if I can get past the line and linebackers,” Avery said, “nobody’s going to be able to touch me.”
Avery’s mom is a Carter grad and his father is a South Oak Cliff alumnus, but his parents will be rooting for Carter red this week. So, too, will the former Carter players who contributed to the program’s winning tradition and the community’s pride in its football team.
It’s that pride that Williams remembers most about his playing days at Carter.
“That’s what I’m trying to get into these guys,” Williams said of his current players. “You’re not just playing for yourself. You’re playing for Carter.”