Last season, Isaac Black and Trenton Carter brought the relentless rush for Lompoc High – energizing a three-man defensive line that only allowed 54 points in the seven games they were together.
Now, the defensive ends are aiming to bring that same tenacity to their new home: Hancock College.
Black and Carter, who were All-Los Padres League selections during their careers, are expected to attack from the outside for the Bulldogs – who have continued their Lompoc High pipeline with luring in former Braves to the campus.
And both nearly chose Moorpark College – before they decided to flip their decision to the local junior college.
Said Black by phone: “My head coach (at Lompoc) Andrew Jones convinced me to go to Hancock. We (Carter and Black) were originally going to go to Moorpark, but Jones reminded me about the rent and how expensive it is there.”
Added Carter, also by phone interview: “The aspect was money – if I stayed here, I would get more situated. It would’ve been hard to live with six guys and you don’t know anyone. Going to Hancock is more comfortable for me.”
Black, who had to overcome his relatively small 6-foot, 235-pound frame in the trenches, wound up earning All-Area First Team honors from Lee Central Coast News after leading the Braves with nine stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also led all LHS defensive linemen with 44 tackles.
Black, however, had to face constant double teams while running the Braves’ three-man line scheme. Black said the Bulldog defense gives him more flexibility and freedom to attack from the outside.
“I’m enjoying it more,” Black said. “I’m not getting double teamed as much and I can draw more one-on-one situations. It plays to my strength.”
Carter – who by his own admission, said he was out of shape last season after missing most of his senior year due to the CIF transfer rules – says he’s driven to get into game shape by the time he sets foot for the Bulldogs’ first game on Sept. 2 at Bakersfield College.
“It’s an adjustment period because a lot of these guys are DI talent,” Carter said. “I sat out and gained a little weight, unfortunately. But (Hancock head coach) Kris Dutra wants me to get back into shape. He loves the Lompoc guys every year.”
Improving his stamina isn’t the only thing motivating Carter. So is his last game in the Lompoc High uniform – the 35-34 CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoff loss to Corona del Mar on Black Friday.
“I think about Corona del Mar a lot,” Carter said. “But what happened in that game happened. I feel like if I were in better shape, maybe the outcome would’ve been different. It’s why I’ve been trying to get back into shape. Honestly, that loss to CDM was good for me because it reminded me that I need to be in shape at all times.”
Carter adds that while at both Lompoc and St. Joseph, the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder played in a three-man defensive front – allowing Carter to penetrate through tight ends and right tackles to stuff the run. Black was also known in the LPL slate to cut inside and blow plays up by attacking the blind side. But at AHC, both will be required to seal the outsides now more than ever.
“It’s more of a four-man front. Now Isaac and I are going to play the six-technique, which is a real defensive end. We’re now 'C' gap players. Often times we would cut inside the offensive line with our schemes. But now everything is outside,” Carter said.
Both are energized about staying home and seeing their family, friends and former Brave comrades in the stands.
“I’m looking forward to it. It brings more hype. Everyone I know will make it to the games,” Black said.
Added Carter “My biggest goal is to improve as a player, get my schooling together and make All-Conference – mainly just better myself.”