Clear Creek Amana senior Ashton Carpenter
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
TIFFIN – Family and football.
Those two things and in that order have been among the most important things in Ashton Carpenter’s life for as long as he can remember.
The oldest of four children, all three of Carpenter’s siblings have medical conditions that stop them from competing in sports.
His 11-year old brother Oakley, who Carpenter called his best friend, suffers from interstitial lung disease.
Growing up watching his siblings battle health issues his time on the football field quickly provided a release for the Clear Creek Amana senior.
“It kind of takes my mind off things, it’s kind of my escape from it; I do it for them because I know they can’t,” Carpenter said. “I think something that goes along with it is just not taking a day for granted. Just knowing that we are only here for so long, and it really makes you come together and just cherish each moment with each other.”
Carpenter grew up in Waverly where he developed a love for sports.
His family moved to Iowa City when Carpenter was nine after Oakley was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease.
Since then Carpenter has bounced between schools in Waverly and the Iowa City area as his family moved to be near family in Waverly or the hospitals in Iowa City.
He was a running back on the City High freshman team that went 9-0 in 2013 and played sparingly for Waverly-Shell Rock in 2014.
Carpenter arrived at Clear Creek Amana before last season.
“Probably about 95 percent of kids that transfer don’t work out because they don’t know the system, they don’t know the people, they get frustrated and they leave,” Matt Hughes said. “We got so lucky with Ashton. He’s just an unbelievable person; he is a great kid, probably the most respectful kid I’ve ever been around. He’s just a joy to be around, and he’s a great athlete on top of everything else.”
Once he found a home at Clear Creek Amana Carpenter didn’t waste any time making an impact on the field.
He made 35.5 tackles, including six for loss, and picked off two passes from his outside linebacker spot to help Clear Creek Amana to a 5-5 record last season.
Carpenter also rushed for 93 yards and averaged a team-best 29.1 yards on eight kickoff returns.
But It was what Carpenter did that can’t be quantified by statistics that showed up most last season.
“Ashton is maybe the best leader I have been around, and I’ve been doing it for 45 years so I’ve seen a few,” Clear Creek Amana coach Ronnie Hughes said. “He just does everything it takes to be a champion. To leading, to working hard, to doing whatever you ask him to do. He’s just amazing.”
Carpenter is hoping that last season was just the start.
He has moved from running back to quarterback for his senior season and is battling junior Dillon Sheely for the starting spot.
The thought of a player coming into a new school and in a matter of months gaining enough respect from teammates to run the team as the quarterback would be concerning to some coaches.
Hughes and his staff never gave it a second thought.
“He is the kind of kid that other kids want to play for not just play with, and that’s a huge thing in high school,” Clear Creek Amana offensive coordinator Matt Trosky said. “He is a likeable kid, but he is someone that the kids trust.”
It is the perspective Carpenter brings to the football field that the coaches believed would make him flourish under center.
“He is someone that sees the game and processes the game,” Trosky explained.
It is the outlook that Carpenter has away from the football field that has made him an instant leader.
Carpenter quickly won over coaches and teammates alike with his zest for the game and excitement for life.
“He has won the respect of all his coaches and more important he has won the respect of all his teammates,” Matt Hughes said. “They look up to him and are just hanging on every word he says.”
Carpenter is hoping for a big finish in his final season at Clear Creek Amana.
The 6-foot, 175-pounder wants to help the Clippers win a district title and a playoff game.
Really he just wants to play for his team and his siblings.
“Honestly I think it makes me a better player because I know if he had the chance to be able to come out here and do it he would give it everything he has,” Carpenter said. “It gives me a little more extra motivation when I come out here to know if I’m having a bad day or something or even with my injury that my brother would be doing everything he could to be out here.”