Jaguars Changing the Culture, Climbing the Mountain

After a 2-8 2015 season South Mountain High School football had officially flatlined. The Jaguars were in need of a facelift, on and off the field, and after three years it certainly appears SMHS found the right man.

Sorry…men.

Co-head coaches Mark and Marcus Carter have gone from one win in 2016, to five the following year and six last fall, marking the Jags’ first winning season in a decade.

More important than the wins, are the dozens of lives the twins have impacted off the field in and around the South Mountain community.

“The one thing about the kids at South Mountain is they’re really resilient, they’re tough,” Mark Carter said to Sports360AZ.com during their recent five-day trip to Camp Ash Fork. “If they love you, they’re going to give you everything they got. With us being able to connect with them, there wasn’t necessarily a blueprint.”

One blueprint which was put in place was the origination of the hashtag #CTC, which simply stands for and represents “Changing The Culture.” 

The players take it to heart wherever they go.

“It means everything to me because I grew up on the south side [of Phoenix],” senior running back K’Rashee Smith explained to Sports360AZ.com. “Everyone had a misperception of how South [Mountain] is and we’re here to change it around.”

While the Jags are young (only around a dozen seniors), the talent and experience is in place for another winning campaign in 2019.

The Carter’s believe, without a doubt, this was their best and most productive summer camp at South.

“Our main thing is to build leaders because we’re going to need that leadership going down the long haul through a 10-game season,” Marcus Carter said to Sports360AZ.com about the goal at Camp Ash Fork. “I thought our seniors did well. You saw a lot of them pushing guys and making sure they didn’t quit.”

The Jags were certainly up for the challenge in the Arizona high country.

“Sometimes we’d talk about it but that was really understood,” senior guard/defensive end T’Ziaha Quint said. “Everybody that was out here wanted to work and they have love for this. They have to fall in love with the process and that’s what they’re doing.”

What a difference a few short years make.

South Mountain opens their season hosting Verrado on August 23rd.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.