There’s an old jersey that accompanied Nicholas County wide receiver Carter Sebert-Sweeney to Institute for Saturday’s North-South Game.
That No. 32 jersey, the same number he wore in the game, was worn by his uncle Justin Sweeney when he played as an all-state running back at the school.
The opportunity to play in the North-South Game was an especially great thing for Sebert-Sweeney for a number of reasons — but none more than getting a chance to honor his uncle, who passed away in February.
“I’m going to try to represent him as best as I can,” Sebert-Sweeney said. “Now that he’s dead, I just try to follow in his footsteps. I’m going to try to do the same things he would do. I know he always played hard, so that’s what I’m going to do — give it everything I have just for him.”
Last year was a big season for Sebert-Sweeney, who earned first team all-state honors and won the Randy Moss Award as the top receiver in the state after catching 32 passes for 830 yards and 17 touchdowns. But unlike many players at this year’s North-South Game, this weekend was Sebert-Sweeney’s final game of his career.
Instead of continuing his playing days into college, he’ll be heading to Morgantown to enroll as an engineering student at West Virginia University.
This week is a bit of a bittersweet reminder of what he’ll be leaving in the past as he finishes his high school career.
“This has been a real honor. I’ve met so many great people and they have all been awesome teammates this week,” Sebert-Sweeney said. “I just can’t believe how great all of this has been. It’s something I’ll remember being part of for a long time.”
He made that final game count as much as he could despite the South falling 10-7 to the North. The Moss Award winner made just one catch — but it went for a 24-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Sebert-Sweeney helped lead Nicholas County to a 9-2 record in 2016 as the Grizzlies made earned the No. 7 seed in the Class AA playoffs before suffering a first-round loss to Keyser. It was Nicholas County’s third playoff appearance in the last four seasons.
It was his second big season in a row for the Grizzlies after catching 35 passes for 829 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior and helped set the tone for him to leave as one of the school’s most productive receivers ever.
And as he added one final memory to his prep football career, Sebert-Sweeney — who also scored three touchdowns on the ground in 2016 — believes it was an experience that was he will cherish for years to come.
“As soon as we got here we started trading decals with people,” Sebert-Sweeney said. “This is just a great group of people and hopefully we’ll be able to keep in touch for a long time.”