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Matix Carpenter an integral part of Central Catholic’s state title: ‘He’s that dude’

“He’s just a great leader, the captain”
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The final horn sounded. 

The celebration began.

For Matix Carpenter, there absolutely couldn’t have been a better way to finish — or a bigger reason to celebrate.

But Carpenter, a senior lineman on the Central Catholic football team, might have been a little too worn out to celebrate as exuberantly as some of his Rams teammates were doing. That makes sense; after all, the persistent powerhouse had just been through a war in the trenches, stepping up with dominant play on the offensive and defensive lines to help Central Catholic come away with a 49-21 win over Tualatin in the Class 6A state championship game, played Friday under sunny skies at Hillsboro Stadium. 

But Carpenter wasn’t too worn out to smile — and he wasn’t too worn out to hold up the blue state championship trophy and take it over to his jovial teammates.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Carpenter said of being part of the Rams’ championship team. “I think this is our fifth championship in 10 years. I’ve been a part of two of them. In my career, it’s a dream ending going out this way.” 

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And what a high school football career it’s been for the 6-foot-1, 270-pound Carpenter. He’s been on the Central Catholic varsity roster since he was a freshman. He was part of the Rams squad that bested Tualatin 44-14 in the 2021 Class 6A state title contest

“I came in, starting as a freshman, and seeing this team evolve has been a special journey for me,” Carpenter said. “I’ve grown close with my class. We won two years ago, but that was when I was a sophomore. But by winning it in my senior year, I know the true meaning behind it, and that’s what makes is so special.”

As a senior, Carpenter played a big part for the Rams squad that went 9-0 in regular-season play, which included a season-opening 48-27 win over Washington power Bellevue as well as a perfect 7-0 mark in Mt. Hood Conference contests.

In the Class 6A state playoffs, Carpenter helped Central Catholic post a 56-0 first-round win over North Medford, a 42-6 quarterfinal victory against Lakeridge and a 12-7 win in a semifinal showdown with previously unbeaten West Linn.

He might have saved his best for last, shining in Friday’s state title game.

Playing at defensive tackle, Carpenter, despite being double-teamed at times, had three solo tackles and a game-high five assists.

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On offense, Carpenter received action at center, guard and tackle, helping the Rams accumulate a state championship game-record 639 yards of total offense, which included 290 rushing yards on 28 carries.

“He did his thing today,” Central Catholic junior Zach Davis said of Carpenter. “He makes it easy for us.”

“I had a hell of a time,” Carpenter said with a smile. “It was a tremendous honor.”

As much as Carpenter has meant to the Rams between the hash marks — he very well could earn all-state honors on both sides of the ball — he might mean even more to the squad as a team leader. He was one of four team captains for Central Catholic, along with fellow seniors Sam Schuver, Cru Newman and Cade Gehren, for Friday’s championship game.

“He’s a great leader with great communication,” Davis said. “He’s always bringing people up. He’s the most positive player on our team, for sure.”

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“He’s just a great leader, the captain,” Central Catholic senior defensive back Timmy Mitchell said. “He’s that way even when people aren’t watching. It’s great to have him around.”

Newman, Central Catholic’s standout quarterback, might have summed things up best when asked what Carpenter has meant to the Rams. 

“I don’t know where we’d be without him,” Newman said. “He’s that dude.”

More from the 6A final: 

Central Catholic wins another crown as injuries, Cru Newman too much for Tualatin to overcome

For Tualatin, what-if finish doesn’t diminish another special season: ‘I love my guys forever’

Central Catholic tops Tualatin in Oregon 6A football final: Photos

Rebuilt lines a key reason for Central Catholic’s run to 6A championship game

Tale of the tape: Who has the edge between Central Catholic and Tualatin in the Oregon 6A football final?