It is not often that a year away from football could be considered beneficial for a player, but for Nation Ford senior quarterback Carson Carruthers, it might just be.
Carruthers was named starting quarterback over the summer by head coach Michael Allen despite Carruthers not playing at all last season. However, in one year’s time, Carruthers stretched up to two inches to 6’5” and added 30 pounds of muscle to top the scales at 225 pounds.
Allen said Carruthers returned this season and won a job that last year was mostly in flux for Nation Ford. Last season, the Falcons never really had a true quarterback, using one of their better overall players in that position in the now-graduated Ben Tuipulotu for most of games.
“He has a good handle on what we want him to do with the football,” Allen said of Carruthers.
Carruthers started playing football in fifth grade and was a tight end in middle school at Oakridge in the Clover school district. His family moved to Fort Mill his freshman year, when he enrolled at Nation Ford. Carruthers said he decided to take last year off from playing to mature himself physically and mentally and feels like despite missing what would have been his junior season, he feels like the break will pay dividends.
“I feel like it helped more than it hurt,” he said. “I have grown a lot physically and mentally.”
Football was never foreign to Carruthers, so when he went back on the field, he blended into the familiarity of the game.
“I have come a long way this summer,” he said. “I had memorized the playbook, so I never really forgot anything.”
Carruthers said that Nation Ford being defending co-Region IV champions doesn’t add pressure for himself or the team and his expectations are simple for the season.
“I just want to win as many games as possible,” he said. “My offensive line, I trust them and I don’t feel any pressure. I just want to do what we do.”
At an NFL-sized 6-feet, five-inches tall, Carruthers does catch the attention of others on the field. However, from a personal standpoint, Carruthers said he hopes to catch the eyes of college coaches and possibly be able to keep playing the game while getting a higher education.
“That is a big goal of mine,” he said.
Nation Ford opens its season Aug. 17 at Spartanburg and has a tough non-region schedule in the first several weeks with games against the Vikings, followed by Conway Aug. 24 at home and then on the road for a short trip to Rock Hill to play four-time defending 4A state champion South Pointe Aug. 31. From there, the Falcons play back-to-back home games Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 against Lancaster and Indian Land before their open date Sept. 21.
The Falcons come off their bye week starting Region IV play against Clover Sept. 28 at home. They will then host rival Fort Mill Oct. 5 before finishing their final three regular season games on the road at Northwestern Oct. 12, at Rock Hill Oct. 19 and at Chapin Oct. 26.