Over the last few years, Elijah Carter has gotten accustomed to making adjustments.

Having grown up in the Reynoldsburg school district, Carter wasn't sure how he'd handle wearing white button-down shirts and khaki pants on a regular basis when he first began attending Hartley High School in the fall of 2014.

Not only has the senior gotten used to the school dress code, but he has gone from being a safety when he was younger to emerging as the best cover cornerback for the Hawks' football team.

The latter transition has proven to be a positive for the Hawks, who improved to 3-1 with a 44-7 win over Chillicothe on Sept. 15 and will play host to Worthington Kilbourne on Friday, Sept. 22, in a rematch of a game they won 45-13 last season.

"In eighth grade, my dad was like, 'I'm going to have you go to Bishop Hartley' so I could focus on my academics," Carter said. "I actually love this school. They really changed my whole mindset from when I first came in. I didn't really like that I'd be in a Catholic school dressing up all day, but after being here, it's just a great community. Everybody's friendly, the teachers are nice, they help you with your homework and the uniform's no problem now."

Carter, who switched to cornerback last season, intercepted his first pass this season during the Hawks' 31-6 victory over Central Crossing on Sept. 1.

Last season, he grabbed an interception in Hartley's 42-7 win over Watterson.

"Last year, I probably had about 16 attempts of quarterbacks throwing to my side all season," Carter said.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, who also is a running back and wide receiver, has taken on a key role in an offense that also features running backs Alexander Blackmon, Nick Cone and Ben Dankow as well as the quarterback platoon of Anthony Carfagna and Miles Fleming.

Carter had a breakout game on offense in a 56-0 victory over East Cleveland Shaw on Sept. 8, rushing 15 times for 165 yards and a touchdown.

With Fleming limited because of an ankle injury in the days leading up to the Chillicothe game, Carter took a few practice snaps running the wildcat, although he doesn't consider himself one of the team's quarterbacks. He hasn't been under center since before high school.

"(Carter's) doing a great job," coach Brad Burchfield said. "He's our best corner and he's explosive. He's very elusive and he's got great vision. We're getting a lot better as we knew would happen."

Carter doesn't have any college offers but has received interest from Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

He's hoping to help the Hawks continue on a path that will lead them to their eighth consecutive postseason appearance.

Games such as the one against Chillicothe, which was a Division III playoff qualifier last year and fell to 2-2 with its loss to the Hawks, could be key to reaching that goal.

"We're doing pretty well and we just still have to get better each and every day," Carter said. "I believe right now we're close to where we need to be. After (an opening 35-16 loss to Toledo Central Catholic on Aug. 25), we learned that we can count on each other.

"I love being able to contribute and that they gave me the opportunity (on offense). I just have to give the credit to the offensive line because they're blocking for me and the other running backs. We complement each other, and every time we do something bad, we come together and pick each other up."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek