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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Their Relationship Becomes a Big Hit

The Carter brothers, Duriel and Matthew, put aside their differences and bond through the Grant football team.

September 18, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAN NUYS — Duriel and Matthew Carter of Grant High haven't always been models of brotherly love.

Two and a half years apart, they say they grew up fighting and arguing. Nothing serious, just typical scuffles between brothers over matters neither can recall.

But playing football on the same team for the first time seems to have changed that.

Instead of battling each other, they have combined forces.

Their relationship took a turn a few months ago in a summer passing game. Matthew received a "cheap shot" to the neck from an opponent, Grant Coach Bill Foster said, and older brother Duriel took exception.

"Duriel was about ready to kill someone," Foster said. "I told him, 'Look, you've got to be able to control that because during the season if some guy knocks [Matthew] over, you've got to make the play. You can't be worrying about what happened to your brother.' "

Duriel, who has taken his share of shots at Matthew, became protective when his brother was struck.

"I didn't want to see my brother get hit like that," said Duriel, a senior.

The incident stands out in Matthew's mind because it was the first time his brother had come to his defense.

"Ever since we've been on the same team, there's been more brotherly love and all that," said Matthew, a sophomore.

There's also been plenty of success. Last week in the Lancers' opener, the split backs combined for 220 of the team's 282 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns in a 26-0 victory over Verdugo Hills.

Together they form one of the most promising running back tandems in the Valley Pac-8 Conference.

"They are different types of runners," Foster said. "Duriel is more of a slasher . . . has good speed, good quickness.

"Matt is the kind of runner who will give you a hip or a leg and [cut] back. Matt's not as strong because he hasn't had the years of weight training that Duriel has."

Still, the Carters are quite a load, each weighing 215 pounds. The 5-foot-10 Duriel is about two inches shorter than his younger brother, but can bench press 330 pounds and is among the strongest players on the team.

"He's a physical specimen," Foster said. "He's a man."

Duriel is also a pretty good recruiter.

He persuaded Matthew to play on the varsity team, although the younger Carter thought he would be more comfortable playing tailback on the freshman-sophomore team.

"I was kind of nervous coming up because everyone was telling me how big the varsity was and that I was going to get hurt," said Matthew, who also starts at linebacker. "[Duriel] kind of pressured me."

Duriel, who sat out three games last season because of an injured knee, wanted his brother on the varsity for several reasons, most importantly because he believes Matthew will have a better chance of being recruited by playing three years of varsity football instead of two.

Duriel, who rushed for nearly 300 yards as a fullback last season, also wanted to experience playing alongside his brother for the first time.

"That's really why I wanted to talk him into it," Duriel said.

And who wouldn't want a 6-foot, 215-pound fullback providing the lead block?

"I can rely on him better, trust him more than some of these other guys," Duriel said. "I know he can do the job."

But Duriel's faith in his brother doesn't come without a price for Matthew.

"It's a lot of pressure," Matthew said. "If I miss a block, he's on me. He'll say, 'I'm going to get you at home.' "

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Carter Profiles DURIEL CARTER

Height: 5-10

Weight: 215

Year: senior

This Season: 121 yards, 1 touchdown

Yards per carry: 8.6

College preference: San Diego State, UCLA

****

MATTHEW CARTER

Height: 6-0

Weight: 215

Year: sophomore

This Season: 99 yards, 1 touchdown

Yards per carry: 9.9

College preference: Florida State

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