From basement dweller to playoff contender, Sharpstown High School in Houston has had a resurgence like no other program in a four-year period.
The Apollos were winless in the two seasons prior to the arrival of coach Gary Gutierrez. Sharpstown was where coaches came to die and players faded into oblivion.
"People thought I was crazy when I took this job," Gutierrez said. "No one thought you could win here."
Gutierrez won four games his first season and is 7-1 and undefeated in District 20-4A entering the weekend.
While Gutierrez is pulling the strings, it's his sophomore trigger-man who becoming a household name around the inner city neighborhood.
"Sam Carter is the best sophomore recruit in the state of Texas," he said. "He's the total package and a kid that you don't get to coach very often. He's a competitor on the field and in the classroom and he's a big reason for our turnaround."
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback started eight games as a freshman, and has rushed for more than 600 yards and thrown for 1,597 and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore.
So much for a sophomore jinx.
"Being from Houston, everyone patterns their game after Vince Young," he said. "I do the same. I like to throw and run, but I really like to just win."
Carter also plays first base for the baseball team and is a small forward for the basketball team.
"I keep pretty busy, but when I'm off I pretty much stay in the house and hang out," he said.
While it is early, Carter favors USC, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and LSU.