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It wasn't that coaches never criticized Landon Carter — they did. There were times when he would overpursue, or have tunnel vision, or wasn't quick enough to his assignment.

But throughout Carter's career, whenever Manti coach Cole Meacham had a word of advice for his linebacker, he noticed that there was never any back talk or defensiveness. Carter worked on his weaknesses, diligently and quietly, until the coaches had fewer and fewer issues to pick on.

"When he came in as a freshman, he was a decent ballplayer, but his work ethic has set him apart," Meacham says. "You just tell him what he needs to do better, he asks how he can do it, then he does it. If I told him running through a brick wall would make him better, he'd do it."

Carter's quiet refinement of his craft, as well as being a role model to his teammates, made him a truly indispensable part of the Templars in their championship season.

One of the keys to the team's success was how they swallowed up the run. In two games against Millard — including Manti's 37-9 win for the state championship — two 1,000-yard backs were rendered insignificant by the Templars' defensive front, and Carter's role as linebacker kept opponents from doing just about anything.

"Basically, my job was to figure out where to go and hit the hardest I could," Carter says. "Especially in that title game, we just dominated. We flowed to the ball, and we shut them down almost completely."

Carter also quietly helped teammates put all their effort in workouts and practice. If someone was late or skipped a meeting, he was sure to remind not to repeat the mistake.

That's what Meacham will miss the most.

"He was a real emotional leader, always getting kids to go after it," he says. "He would say, 'We've worked too hard to let this slip.'" All-State softball MVPs and teams (pdf) ยป

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