TURNER — Fryeburg was within striking distance of the end zone with eight seconds remaining.

Raiders quarterback Cohen Carter took the snap and threw toward receiver Logan Walton, whom he had connected with 14 times during the Class C South final that evening, near the end zone.

Leavitt safety Noah Carpenter jumped in front of and intercepted the pass as time ran out, sealing the Hornets’ 36-32 come-from-behind victory and earning them a spot in their second consecutive Class C title game. Leavitt (10-0), the defending state champion, will face Oceanside (10-0) on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lewiston High School.

“I knew that when the time in games comes down to the last seconds, you’re going to get the ball to your best player,” Carpenter said, referring to Walton, earlier this week. “So, I had a feeling that they were going to try to target him, and as soon as I saw that ball in the air, I was like, I got to go grab this. I just did my best … and went up and got it.”

Carpenter also sealed the Hornets’ 21-14 victory over Oxford Hills, last year’s Class A champion, in September when he sprinted up and knocked a pass away on a fourth-down play with about 90 seconds remaining.

The senior is known for his feats as a quarterback. It’s understandable; every time Carpenter takes a snap, there is a threat of a touchdown, whether it be a long run by him or one of his teammates, a long pass or a short pass that turns into a long gain.


Carpenter, though, is more than a big-play QB.

“I think, probably because he’s such a good quarterback, maybe initially people didn’t know how good of a safety he is,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said, “but I think anybody who’s turned on the tape and watched this year can see that, you know, he’s fantastic back there.”

The film will show even more than that: Carpenter also is standout kicker and punter. In fact, he was voted first-team all-Cambell Conference as a quarterback, defensive back and kicker.

On defense, he has racked up 104 tackles, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

He’s made 29 of 32 PATs. The rare times that the Hornets have punted have allowed him to show off his big leg. In the first half against Thornton, he had a couple of punts that would be impressive at any level.

Hathaway notes that the only times Carpenter isn’t on the field is during kick returns.


“He’s a football junkie,” Hathaway said. “He wants to be around all the time. He wants to learn more all the time. He wants to try new things all the time. … He’s got a lot of just love for the game. And that’s so much fun to coach when somebody loves it like that.”

Carpenter enjoys being so involved in each game, and the work that goes into playing quarterback, safety, kicker and punter.

“It just keeps me interested in the game,” Carpenter said. “I kind of like just being always out on the field, always trying to do my best to help the team out. It’s kind of just working hard, trying to stay focused in practice, and kind of just listening to everything and take in as much information as possible.”

So it isn’t an accident that his PATs are almost automatic or that his punts go so far. It isn’t luck when he correctly anticipates where the ball is going on a last-second play by the other team.


Whenever there is a Leavitt football activity, Hathaway is the first to show up.


“Usually, the second person here is Noah, and sometimes I feel like he’s trying to beat me to the place,” Hathaway said.

Carpenter doesn’t just show up early, he makes the most of everything the Hornets do.

“Every once in a while, you run into it where the best player is the hardest worker,” Hathaway said.

Carpenter rarely takes off plays during games, and practices are no different.

“He’s the loudest guy at practice every day,” Hathaway said. “He runs through every drill. He’s 100 miles an hour every single day. … So you just always can count on him — consistency and effort and leadership, and things like that.”

Carpenter was brilliant last year while helping the Hornets to a state championship and a dominant 11-0 record. He was named the Sun Journal’s All-Region Player of the Year, the Varsity Maine Player of the Year and the Gatorade Maine Player of the Year.


He’s been even better in 2023.

The Hornets (10-0) are again undefeated and have now won 21 straight games. Their regular season schedule included last year’s Class A state finalists, Oxford Hills and Thornton, as well as finalists in this year’s Class A (Thornton) and Class B (Lawrence) title games.

Carpenter has excelled in each of those big games.

A 55-yard touchdown run on the third play of the game put Oxford Hills in comeback mode.

He threw two TD passes and ran for scores of 21, 60 and 57 yards against Lawrence.

Four rushing touchdowns and several important passes helped Leavitt rally back from a 21-6 halftime deficit against Thornton by scoring 29 unanswered points.


He ran for three scores and threw two TDs to Keegan Reny as the Hornets twice overcame two-score deficits against Fryeburg last week.

“He’s improved his knowledge a lot,” Hathaway said. “You know, he made a big jump with that last year when he became the full-time starter. And then this year, I think he’s really just expanded his knowledge of the game so much, and it all just allows him to play so fast and so confident on the field, because he really knows what he’s doing.”


Carpenter, who has rarely played four full quarters this season, has completed 82 of 131 passes for 1,661 yards and 18 touchdowns, and he’s carried the ball 116 times for 1,299 yards (11.2 yards per carry) and 22 TDs.

When asked what motivates him, Carpenter said, “Just always trying to provide the best for the team, trying to get every yard that I can … just trying to do everything I can for the team.”

His teammates also have been great. Jace Negley and Will Keach are two of the best players in the state. The offense is overflowing with weapons, as Leavitt offenses often are, and the defense has skilled players at each position.

Carpenter recognizes that, which is Keach’s favorite part of his teammate since grade school.

“How selfless he is,” Keach said. “He’s obviously, in my opinion, the top player in the state. And if you ask him, he’s just another player on our team. And he’s a good leader. And he knows he has his abilities, but I wouldn’t say he’s cocky about it.”

Carpenter isn’t the swarm, he just leads it.

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