HELENA — Helena Capital's Tom Carter is the Western AA All-conference MVP, a first team all-conference and first team all-state corner, a first team all-conference and first team all-state running back, the All-State Offensive MVP. But, to him, most importantly– a state champion.
“All those accolades are awesome, but winning that game is something I'll never forget,” Tom said.
But how did Tom Carter become the athlete he is today? Like most, Tom’s football experience started on the playground.
“I was a super little guy. So I didn't get to run the ball. I didn't get to throw the ball. I always had to play receiver. So I kind of stuck with it all the way through up until this year,” said the receiver turned running back.
But his love for the game started with the help of his father, Lee Carter, who like Tom, played football at Capital High. Lee went on to play linebacker at Wyoming before he transferred to Montana State’s defensive unit. Lee is also an assistant coach for the Capital Bruins, and Tom says he's always been around. In his younger years, Tom says Lee coached his small fry and middle school basketball teams. But most of all, his father has taught him to love the game of football.
“I love the game. I love how it works. And like, it's so much deeper than just the game. It's a brotherhood. You know? I love that about it,” Tom said.
Tom’s dad wasn’t the only Carter to be a part of athletics at MSU. His sisters Elena and Leigha both run track for the Cats.
“Yeah, growing up they always beat me up. You know, I was like, God, we're super competitive. Like, with basketball, track, wrestling in the backyard. I always wanted to win, but I never did. So they just kept pushing me the whole way,” he said of his sisters.
Though the Carter family certainly has natural athletic prowess, the path to Tom’s success wasn’t always a walk in the park.
“I broke my femur when I was super little. I’ve broken this arm, I have a scar from it right there two or three times. I had a pretty big surgery on my chest and lung because there is a growth in there. That was bad. Knee surgeries," Tom recalled. "I've had the whole shebang, you know, just staying positive and my parents have been there for me, my sisters have been great. I'm just super grateful for them to be in my corner.”
Working through the injuries was well worth it for Tom. He wrapped his senior season with 2,092 all purpose yards, 23 touchdowns and multiple Division I offers. His first D1 offer came from his dad's alma mater.
“It was super cool. It was MSU. My dad was pretty pumped and even with UM he's super excited for me when got a Griz hat. So that's pretty big for him. But it's a super cool feeling. And granted, I've had great guys pushing me this whole time," Tom said.
Tom is currently uncommitted as more and more interest surrounding the state's Offensive MVP builds.
"I just want to wait and weigh my options. I'll take my visits and just really try to enjoy the recruiting process as much as possible. It's stressful, but it's nice," he said of searching for a new program to call home.
Tom says he's searching for great staff and a family mentality in his new program.
"The people I'm going to meet is going affect me for the rest of my life. And I just want to have good memories," he said.
Tom says he hopes to take his football dreams as far as possible and become a coach one day.