ADAM CUMMINGSD (SAW)

West Carteret standout Adam Cummings returns from injury to be honored as Student-Athlete of the Week. (J.J. Smith photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — There were less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half of the Mullet Bucket game when Adam Cummings registered his first catch of the season.

He had missed West Car-teret’s first four football games with a quadriceps injury.

His return to health proved to be the difference in the 57th annual rivalry game between West and East Carteret.

Trailing 13-0 at the break, Cummings had three catches for 96 yards in the second half, including the game-tying touchdown with less than six minutes left, propelling the Patriots to a 14-13 win.

“It was a great experi-ence,” he said. “I’m really glad I got to play in it. Both teams did a great job. It was something. I was so happy to see how many people showed up to watch us all play. The fans were great. It made it that much more special, it being my first game this season.”

The speedy senior wide receiver took a screen pass late in the fourth quarter and scampered 25 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 13-13 with 5:31 to go.

“After the game, I real-ized it was a big deal, but in the moment, I was just thinking ‘let’s get the PAT because we have to go play defense,’” said Cummings, who doubles as a safety. “It only felt like the winning touchdown after the game.”

Jonah Lind provided the winning marker, kicking the extra point to make it 14-13.

“That was exciting when he hit that,” Cummings said. “I was trying to calm everyone down. I knew we had to get ready to go play defense, because anything can happen in five minutes.”

West opened up the game with a punt on its first drive and then turned it over on the next four pos-sessions of the first half.

Down by 13 points, Cummings gave his team its first big spark of the game on its first drive of the sec-ond half, hauling in a 39-yard pass on the right side-line from Jaylen Hewitt. Keegan Callahan scored on a 4-yard run on the next play.

“The quarterback threw a great ball, the coaches called a great play, the linemen blocked,” Cum-ming said of his big play. “Everyone had to do their job. I definitely felt like it got the team going. Every-one got excited, everyone started playing really well.”

One wonders what the second half would have looked like without Cum-mings’ 39-yard catch on the Patriots’ first drive.

The visitors were facing fourth-and-5 if he didn’t come down with the tough catch over a defender. If West punts or doesn’t con-vert, the negative momen-tum would have carried over from the first half.

“Maybe it would have a little bit, but we don’t know what would have hap-pened,” Cummings said. “There are a lot of maybes in that game.”

One of the maybes oc-curred on the drive prior to Cummings’ game-tying touchdown catch. He dropped a third-down pass inside the East 40-yard line with less than 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

“I thought about it for a split second, and I got really upset with myself, but you have to move on to the next play,” he said. “You can’t really linger on it.”

Cummings ranked the game among the top four of his biggest moments in high school, comparing it to back-to-back regional final trips in basketball and a state quarterfinal appear-ance in tennis doubles with his brother, Rob.

“The atmosphere of the Mullet Bucket made it something different,” he said.

Rob, a standout basket-ball, soccer and tennis play-er at West, is now in his freshman year at UNC Chapel Hill, spending his first semester in Ireland.

“It’s been a little bit quiet at the house” Cummings said. “I miss him some, but he set a great example for me. I’m real grateful. He kind of showed me the path.”

The two competed at everything growing up, in-cluding academics, as well as athletics.

Cummings has a 4.56 GPA and ranks first in his class.

“We’ve been competing since day one, and he’s not around anymore,” he said. “We were always playing something. He was always whooping me. He was al-ways better, and that made me work that much harder to get better. Having him around was the best.”

Cummings is considering UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State and Georgia for his college destinations. He plans on majoring in business.

“I just want to pursue my academics,” he said. “I’ll be sad when playing sports is over. I’m trying to make the most of it.”

Here are a few of Cum-mings’ favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apoca-lypse, and the five items he would take with him on a deserted island:

Favorite Movie: “Stand by Me.”

Favorite TV Show: “The Of-fice.”

Favorite Cartoon: “Family Guy.”

Favorite Band/Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.

Favorite Song: “Take It Easy” by the Eagles.

Favorite Book: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling.

Favorite Team: North Caroli-na Tar Heels.

Favorite Athlete: Michael Jordan.

Favorite Vacation: Ski trip to Park City, Utah.

Favorite Hobby: “Playing pi-ano.”

Favorite Subject: Histo-ry/social studies.

Favorite Quote: “The only person you are destined to be-come is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Favorite Food: New York Strip Steak.

Favorite Drink: Dr. Pepper.

Favorite Restaurant: Yellow-fin Pub.

Favorite Season: Summer.

Favorite Sports Memory: “Playing one-on-one basketball with my brother Rob.”

Favorite Teacher: Mr. Mark Thompson.

Favorite Sport: Basketball.

Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: “Before every game, I tie my shoes, untie them, then tie them back.”

Favorite Website/App: Insta-gram.

Favorite Follow on Social Media: @houseofhighlights.

Ideal Dinner Guest List: Je-sus, Michael Jordan, Kanye West, Mark Thompson and Moksh Thakore.

Ideal Group to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Davis Starling, Cason Collins, Worth Stack, Jaxon Whitaker, Justice Dade’El and coach Brian Rob-erts.

Items For A Deserted Island: Axe, tent, boat, large No. 1 meal from Chik-fil-A and a flare gun.

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