Thomas Sumter's Hill flashes instincts in secondary with two picks against Carolina Academy


Thomas Sumter freshman Carter Hill is only four games into his varsity career, but he's already making an impact for the Generals.

The newly minted safety, who started the season at outside linebacker, intercepted two passes in the Generals' 37-12 win over Carolina Academy on Friday. That performance was enough to earn the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week.

Changing positions during your first varsity season can be a challenge, but Hill is loving the move to safety.

"It's different," Hill said. "It's easier to read the play from safety, you get a little bit more time. At linebacker, you just kind of have to react to what you think is going to happen.

"I'm getting pretty comfortable; I just need to learn the plays and the coverage a little better. I feel like I'm adjusting pretty well."

He used that extra time to pick off two passes against Carolina Academy. The first came before halftime with the Generals leading 14-0. The interception helped keep Carolina off the scoreboard until the second half.

The second takeaway came in the second half, setting up another TSA touchdown as the Generals put the game away.

"It boosts my confidence a lot, boosts the morale of the team," Hill said of the performance. "I feel like it's going to carry over into the next week."

Thomas Sumter head coach Brannon Tidwell was impressed by the interceptions, but he was equally happy to see his young safety defend the run.

"He did a great job filling the run, that's how he ended up with seven tackles," Tidwell said. "I think he can see it better, because it's tougher when you're the outside backer, especially at his age. Back there at safety, he did a great job of reading the quarterback's eyes and breaking on the ball."

Hill is making the move to safety as he and several other young Generals are still getting used to the speed of varsity action.

"It's a big step up from when I played last year," Hill said of the jump from JV. "Last year, the game was kind of slower. When you get on varsity, everything goes by in like an instant."

While the TSA safety is young, Tidwell thinks he's capable of more standout performances.

"He's a good football player, he's beyond his years when it comes to understanding the game and physically, in the weight room, he's strong, especially being a 14-year-old," Tidwell said. "We're really excited about his future."

Thomas Sumter has a very young roster. That lack of experience led to some bumps and bruises, as TSA lost three straight games entering Friday's contest with Carolina Academy. While it hasn't been easy, Tidwell said his young group is on schedule.

"It just takes experience and reps. You can train them all you want in practice, but you're not going to get the same look in practice," Tidwell said. "It's really neat to see those young kids getting that game experience and I said it earlier in the year, but we have a chance to get on a hot streak and get this team to gel and I think we had a good start to that on Friday."