Football: Warrior captain earns teammate of week honors from MSHSL
Harry Carlson earns an honor for his work on the field and for his country
Harry Carlson has sacrificed a lot.
This last summer, the Brainerd senior went to boot camp with the Army and National Guard at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. During that time Carlson, a captain of the Warriors football team, kept in touch with players and coaches.
“It definitely taught me a lot about myself,” Carlson said of boot camp. “Every day is a different challenge. They made sure they tested you every day and made me go further than I could’ve thought. It was a mental challenge more than anything.”
His sacrifice for his country and his teammates was noticed by the Minnesota State High School League who named Carlson teammate of the week last week.
“Harry is a natural-born leader,” Warriors head coach Jason Freed said. “He’s a kind of young man that has a lot of the intangibles of what it takes to be a leader. He’s a great communicator. He cares about his teammates. He’s passionate about the game. He works hard. He’ll always put others in front of himself and to me when I think about Harry about what he did last summer — in going to boot camp and joining the Armed Forces — I think it says a lot about Harry.”
Carlson was honored the MSHSL acknowledged him as a great teammate.
“It meant a lot to him,” he said. “I wasn’t always there, but when I was there I did everything I could. Considering the times, it felt pretty good to have something like that.”
When Carlson was at boot camp he wrote letters to both his fellow captains — Forrest Gibson and Andrew Thielke — and Freed.
“Just wanted to let them know that I missed them,” Carlson said. “I didn’t get my phone a lot, so I wanted them to know what I thought through the letters.”
When Carlson returned to Brainerd in August, the football season had been pushed to spring. That changed at the end of September when the football season moved back to fall. Carlson became a good example to Freed and his staff and how to push through the adversity of 2020.
“He is very mature beyond his age,” Freed said. “He knows what’s important in life. He puts other people’s needs in front of his needs. He’s made those sacrifices. I think what it’s done is it sets up a bright future for Harry and what it will entail.”
Carlson said the decision to serve in the military was something that always intrigued him when he was younger.
“As I got older, I realized not that many people go into the military as you think,” Carlson said. “It's just something that I thought I had to do.”
Carlson finished the season with five tackles all in the first game of the season against St. Cloud Apollo. He only played in the one game because he had to quarantine for the next three due to a family member having COVID-19.
When the season got canceled early because of COVID-19, Carlson cried knowing his senior season ended prematurely.
“That was probably one of the hardest phone calls I’ve ever had,” Carlson said. “I don’t really cry a whole lot, but I teared up after I heard that news. There was never a thought that it would get canceled; it was just always in the back of your head.”
Carlson plays baseball and wrestles for Brainerd as well. Throughout the football season, his positivity still came through despite only playing in one game.
“He’s always looking at positive things that can come out of negative situations,” Freed said. “He’s someone that a lot of the other players will gravitate toward. He leads by example. He works hard on the field. He doesn’t miss a weight room session. He was the heart of the football team in how he approached life.”
After graduating, Carlson plans to finish his advanced individual training for the Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and then go to trade school.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.