Three members of Highland’s football recently made their college choices official, as Chase Carpenter and Ian Taylor will play for Otterbein University, while Joey Scaffidi will play for Walsh University.
Carpenter, who will major in nursing, noted that his choice in major played a large role in choosing the Cardinals.
“There are a lot of local hospitals, so my nursing career will be impacted by that,” he said. “They have small class sizes and it’s close to home and Polaris, so it was the right fit.”
One big change he’ll have to get used to is not being coached by his father, Chad, who had been his head coach at Highland. However, he feels that won’t be a huge adjustment.
“It’s not going to be much different,” he said. “My dad coached me a lot, but I had other coaches.”
Carpenter thought he would play at outside linebacker, but said that he’s open to whatever the coaches have in mind for him.
“I know I have to put on a little weight,” he said. “I’m a little small for college football, but wherever they want me, I’ll play.”
Carpenter has a lot of expectations for his time in college.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “I feel it’ll help me grow as a person. I’ll be able to take on more tasks more efficiently, plus meeting new guys.”
While he’s looking forward to meeting new people, he does know that he’ll be leaving behind a lot of his former teammates and friends.
“My senior class was huge and we’ve always been really close-knit,” he said. “It meant a lot graduating with these guys. I feel they made me what I am today.”
One teammate he won’t be leaving behind is Taylor, who also is going to Otterbein to major in mechanical engineering and will room with his Highland teammate.
“I really like the coaching staff and how they dealt with things,” he said. “Also, the proximity to home, so I’ll be able to watch my brother on Friday nights.”
Taylor will play at defensive back after splitting between there and quarterback with Highland. He noted that his time as the team’s signal-caller helped him become a better defender.
“I always think I have good field vision,” he said. “My quarterback knowledge helps me tell where the ball is going before it’s thrown.”
From going to camps and making visits, Taylor quickly came to the conclusion that he would like his new teammates.
“Just the camaraderie of college,” he said when asked what he was looking forward to. “I met some other guys from visits and they’re nice guys.”
Taylor had been at Big Walnut before moving to Highland for his senior year. While only a Scot for one year, he feels that time has been memorable.
“Being football and baseball conference champs is the best way to end my high school career,” he said. “I know playoffs didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but it was a good ride.”
Scaffidi will major in business while playing on the defensive line for Walsh.
“I thought Walsh was the best fit for me campus-wise,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities in the world with business.”
With football, Scaffidi feels he’ll need to put in a lot of work to get better, stronger and faster. However, he feels ready for that challenge, as he noted that he matured a lot over his four years with the Scots.
“I feel I grew up a lot,” he said. “I’m more willing to take criticism, outside advice and help that I wasn’t willing to take as a freshman.”
The senior will always have good memories of his time with Highland, saying that he feels the school will always be part of his family.
“I feel Highland will always be family,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else the last four years.”
Now, he’s looking forward to the new experiences that college will bring.
“Being out in the world and seeing new things and still playing football,” he said in saying what he’d be looking forward to.
One person who was very happy to be there for their signing ceremony was their former coach, Chad Carpenter, who stepped down as Highland football coach following 17 years and 113 wins with the Scots.
“I got to watch two of the three literally grow up,” he said. “I’ve been involved a lot over the years with them. It’s been a great experience for me. As a dad and former coach, to see that — it’s special.”
Carpenter feels all three of those players has what it takes to be successful, both on and off the field, in college.
“All three are really good at a lot of different things,” he said. “Their overall approach to the game is special, as is their toughness. I’ve coached a lot of good players over the years and think all three fit into that mold.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS