PLAYOFF PROFILES : Second Half Is Carpenter’s

Taft High Coach Troy Starr believes his football team is the best-conditioned squad in the region.

Donald Carpenter is his proof.

The sophomore tailback has gained most of his 1,162 yards in the second half of games. As defenses wear down, Carpenter gets going.

“He’s our shining example,” Starr said.


In a 34-14 victory over El Camino Real, Carpenter gained 164 of his 210 yards after halftime. The previous week against Chatsworth, he gained 180 of his season-high 235 yards in the second half.

“I really try to have a power running style,” Carpenter said. “When the defense starts tiring, I get more energy.”

Taft will need Carpenter’s production when it plays Narbonne tonight at Torrance High in the first round of the City Section 4-A playoffs. Narbonne has a huge defensive front.

Even when Taft has struggled, Carpenter has put the Toreadors in a position to win. Two weeks ago against Kennedy, Carpenter was held to 14 yards in five first-half carries. But on the opening drive of the second half, he turned the corner twice on the Golden Cougars, one of the City’s fastest defenses, with a pair of 20-yard runs--the second for a touchdown that pulled the Toreadors to within three points.

“That was the ultimate,” Carpenter said. “I try to keep myself mentally focused. That’s more important to me than being physical.”

Carpenter learned that lesson from Jerry Brown, who rushed for 5,423 yards as the Toreadors’ tailback from 1992-94. He is a redshirt at Oregon.

Carpenter was a member of the frosh-soph team last season and ran track with Brown.

The similarities end there.

“There is no comparison between the two,” Starr said. “They are totally different types of running backs. I wouldn’t even let Donald wear Jerry’s number.”

Carpenter hasn’t matched Brown’s accomplishments as a sophomore. Brown was the City Section 3-A player of the year, gaining 1,731 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns.

But just give him time to get going.