BROOKSVILLE - It was a display befitting a first-round draft choice - like his father: ex-Seminole standout Dexter Carter Sr.
Junior slotback Dexter Carter Jr. isn't a first-round draft choice of the San Francisco 49ers, yet.
But with a few more performances for The Bolles School Bulldogs like he displayed against host Hernando High Friday at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium, Carter may one day follow in his dad's illustrious footsteps.
Carter, who tallied 12 touchdowns for a Bulldog offense that averaged 33 points per game last season, torched the Leopards with a game-high four touchdowns - all after his team trailed three offensive snaps into the game on a 66-pass play from quarterback Tyler Kline to Derrell Holland.
Despite a dry field, HHS' upset hopes began to unravel after suffering five first-half turnovers (a blocked punt, two interceptions and two lost fumbles besides failing to recover a squib kick on the final play of the opening half).
In a sloppy game featuring nearly 200 yards in penalties and 10 turnovers, including six by the Leopards, Bolles rallied for a 35-22 non-district victory thanks to a pair of Carter touchdown runs (1, 8 yards), his 79-yard kickoff return, plus a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Edden.
Edden, a junior transfer from Nease, completed 7-of-10 passes for 76 yards and overcame one interception.
Despite opening the season on a down note, HHS' second-year skipper Dwayne Mobley pointed to the positives.
"Besides the guys in our locker room, nobody gave us a chance against one of the finest programs in the state of Florida," he said. "I thought we more than held our own.
"Tonight, we had too many kicks blocked and you can't give as talented a team as Bolles six turnovers," he pointed out. "A lot of our mistakes might have been cleaned up had we played a preseason game."
The biggest difference according to Mobley was, "We didn't make the plays when we really needed them," he detailed. "I'm telling you the guys played hard; I can't fault that.
"Our biggest positives surround our defense, especially for how long they were left out there," he said. "And how we didn't give up at halftime and clawed back into the game."
Analizing Carter's impact, "Dexter is a great player and his dad was a great player, too," noted Mobley. "He hurt us with that kickoff return. We really need to work harder on special teams; we've got some areas we've got to shore up."
???Freshman E.J. Porter opened the scoring for the Bulldogs on a 1-yard touchdown run culminating a two-play, 19-yard drive following a blocked Justin Roberts punt by Bulldog senior Justin Ackerman.
Four plays later, Bolles' safety Trenton McGhee swiped a pass off John Coleman.
However, the Jeremiah Jackson and Jesse Gaudin-led defense forced a three-and-out.
But when Holland fumbled a pitch at the Leopard 24, senior Phillip Dewees recovered with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
A six-play, 19-yard scoring drive concluded with Carter scooting in untouched around right tackle for the first of his touchdowns.
Four plays later, sophomore Joe King swiped an errant Kline pass at the Leopard 30, but Alex Lucansky, who converted 5-of-5 extra-point attempts, hooked the ensuing 26-yard field goal attempt.
Senior Mondrell Brown's interception off Edden led to Ra'shaad Hart's 13-yard touchdown run with 1:20 remaining. Jabril Mathis followed by blocking Habib Garcia's second point-after attempt, one of the Leopards' five special teams gaffes.
On the ensuing kickoff, Carter tilted the game's complexion in 11 seconds behind his untouched return, 21-13.
Next, Leopard punter Hunter Maclachan fumbled a center snap as BHS' Paul Dominey recovered.
After a Bolles' procedure penalty, BHS again cashed on the short field as Edden connected with Tyrell Moorer for 21 yards before clicking with Carter with a 15-yard scoring pass with 1.3 seconds remaining in the first half, 28-13.
Momentum appeared to shift to begin the second half when Moorer was striped after a 9-yard reception at the Bolles' 29, where Jackson recovered.
Seizing the moment, the hosts navigated 29 yards in eight plays as Kline lofted a perfectly executed fade route to Troy Grant. Garcia's second PAT cut the deficit to one score, 28-20.
Carter's lone miscue arrived on the Bulldog's next snap as he fumbled the ball in traffic and Gaudin recovered.
Though HHS stalled out, Roberts' 29-yard punt pinned BHS on its own 5-yard line.
Three plays later, Gaudin notched his second sack on Edden in the end zone resulting in a safety, 28-22.
That's the closest, however, the Purple and Gold could get.
In another kicking-game breakdown, Roberts' fifth punt was partially blocked turning the ball over to the 'Dawgs at the HHS 19.
Five snaps later, Carter closed the scoring with his final touchdown run.
Though HHS outgained BHS, 245-179, six turnovers and 11 penalties for 77 yards defused the upset bid.
"I'm very disappointed," explained Hart, who finished with a game-high 95 rushing yards on 16 carries. "We made too many mental mistakes.
"Give Bolles credit, they played like state champions. The biggest thing I take from this game is we've got to get people on and off the field."
Holland had mixed emotions due to his lost fumble compared to his second-ever varsity touchdown.
"The touchdown catch felt good. I have to thank all my teammates for blocking so well," admitted the 17-year-old Holland. "Both teams (literally) threw punches - they just got in the last one.
"What hurts most," he added, "is we had the heart to win this game, but we made way too many mental mistakes."
Gaudin took the high road with his final analysis.
"I thought we played well. We were gap-sound most of the way," said the 17-year-old Gaudin.
On describing Carter, "He's a good player. He really hurt us on special teams."
Gaudin, who added a tackle behind the line, besides his two sacks, a safety and a fumble recovery, added, "You work hard all week to get to the game. Getting a sack is like getting rewarded for all that hard work we put in."
Bolles 35, Hernando 22
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
BOL 7 21 0 7 --35
HER 7 6 9 0 --22
HER - Holland 66 pass from Kline (Garcia kick).
BOL - Porter 1 run (Lucansky kick).
BOL - Carter 1 run (Lucansky kick).
HER - Hart 5 run (Garcia kick blocked).
BOL - Carter 79 kickoff return (Lucansky kick).
BOL - Carter 15 pass from Edden (Lucansky kick).
HER - Grant 19 pass from Kline (Garcia kick).
HER - Gaudin sacks Edden in end zone for a safety.
BOL - Carter 2 run (Lucansky kick).
First Downs 9 11
Atts./Rushing Yds. 28-90 40-148
Comp./Pass Atts./Int. 9-12-1 4-16-3
Passing Yds. 89 97
Total Offense 40-179 56-245
Fumbles/Lost 3-2 3-2
Return Yards 4-66 8-119
Punts/Avg. 8-35.8 5-16.8
Penalties 15-114 11-77