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West Carteret young receiving core gearing up for 24’-25’ campaign

John Shultz, Sports Writer

Friday, April 19, 2024

West Carteret had a great passing offense in the 23’-24’ campaign, and there is no sign of  stopping for this receiving core in the 24’-25’ season.

West graduates standout players: Lamar Teel, Keegan Callahan,  Noah Anderson, and Jaxon Lawrence led the team as seniors. However, some returning receivers are looking to leave an impact this coming year.

Sean Cartwright, Jasiah Jones, Landon Mann, and Jay Murray all put up some impressive numbers this past season. 

Jones and Cartwright both broke the school's previous record for receiving yards; Jones posted 978 yards, while Cartwright put up 924. Cartwright ended up with 7 total touchdowns and averaged 84 yards per game. Jones had 11 total touchdowns and averaged 88.9 yards per game. 

Jay Murray and Landon Mann are also just getting started. Mann has been battling injury since freshman year, but still managed to put up an impressive 498 yards this season. Although Jay Murray is the youngest of the group, and played for varsity the first time this past season, he certainly proved he belonged there. Murray put up 364 yards and averaged 36.4 yards a game. 

I interviewed these up-and-coming players, and recorded their responses below. 

How do you think you did personally this season?

Jones: “I personally think I could've done better. The little things like dropped balls, and blocking off the line faster could be improved. I’d want to improve my route running and getting off the line my footwork could use so work too”

Mann: “I personally think I did well with what was given to me. I was out a couple games but the games I played I felt I did pretty well.” 

Murray: “I think I did okay this season. I think it was a big step into varsity from jv. There’s a speed difference and everything is taken more seriously. Messing up has a way bigger penalty than jv did. But I think I did okay considering my position.”

Cartwright: “Really I want to improve the most with my change of directions and just being able to get more yards after the catch. I love being the big deep play guy but I want to also turn the small catches into big plays. Also, I just want to be a good leader as a senior and keep up a good work ethic.”

Where would you like to improve most?

Murray replied, “I would really like to improve on my speed and aggressiveness. Those are pretty key things for football. I mean, I’m a bigger receiver and can use that to an advantage if I would just be aggressive and take the hits and run through other players.”

Mann: “I really need to improve route running and find weaknesses in the defender’s defense.”

What kind of numbers would you like to put up next year?

Jones: “I’d like to be the first receiver in West Carteret history to hit 1000 yards. I was very close last year so I hope to break it this year and also have the most all purpose yards.”.

Murray: “I want to have 500 receiving yards. I had 300 last year, but I fit in more this year and I’m better than I was last year so it all adds in. I hopefully want to get more than that but we have a pretty good receiving core and they all get their respective amount of yards.”. 

Mann voiced his concerns about injury saying, “I would really like to get into the 700+ receiving yards this upcoming season. I think if I stay persistent and keep the injuries away I could get to that goal.”

Cartwright: “I would like to break 1000 yards this year with my major goal being 1200. To end a career with around 2200+ receiving yds would be incredible. I hope to break the receptions record with 63 and the touchdown receiving record.”

Where would you like to see the team go next year? 

All four athletes had similar takes in regards to this question. 

Murray: “I really want to see us winning 8 games this coming season and going past round 2 of the playoffs. I think it’s possible if everyone in the team is playing right and with each other.”

Mann: “I’d love to see the team with a longer run in the playoffs this upcoming season.”

Jones: “I would like to see us go all the way but everyone’s gotta want it and willing to put in the work and effort”

Cartwright: “I want us to have a must win mentality where we go into every game no matter the opponent and tell ourselves we can win. Getting out of the first and second rounds would be great.”

Do you have a favorite moment from last year with this core group?

Jones: “My favorite core memory would probably be when we beat Croatan. Cutler (another standout teammate on West's team) was hopping up and down on crutches and we all lifted him up, cheering and yelling. At that moment it felt like the team morale was definitely high and the bond just became stronger.” 

Murray: “My favorite moment from this core group was either the NC State 7 on 7 game or playing Croatan. At NC State we were just clicking, including me. That was like my first time playing with them and I just felt like I could fit in during the season with them. I also picked Croatan because it was a pretty big game for me. I had a new personal record that game with 85 yards. It was nothing crazy but I was proud of it and the receiving core was hyping me up so it made me feel even better.”

Mann had more to say about his fellow teammates, “The most memorable event was Jones and Sean breaking the 900 yards mark. Those are two super talented guys that do well on and off the field. They deserved it.”

Cartwright: “My favorite moment from our group is probably the East Carteret game from this past season. I feel like we all contributed well there.”

I then spoke with head coach, Daniel Barrow, to better understand where this team is headed. 

How has the receiving core developed from when you got them as freshmen, to now?

“We could see how talented this group was from the beginning. The difference is now they are more polished. They have refined their skills.”

Where do you think this group (Murray, Jones, Mann, and Cartwright) will be next year during the season?

“Statistically speaking I think they should all be close to last year’s output. This year I expect them to contribute to all around team success through impactful plays on special teams and defense too.”

Do you think these players are better because they are constantly competing for targets and reps?

“I think across all sports it’s such an advantage when you have someone that can push you to be better at practice. They have a great opportunity because they can compete with great receivers everyday.”

What would you like to see collectively from the receivers to bring their game to the next level?

“They need to continue to develop as blockers. The difference between good and great teams are often the little things that go unnoticed to most people. One of those things is Receivers being great perimeter blockers.”

How does this offensive team stack up against some that you have coached?

“This year’s team will have a chance to have a good offense. We bring back 8 starters so that helps. What they need to do in order to be successful is sustain drives and get ‘tough’ yardage. That is an area we need to improve on from last season.”

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