BLOOMFIELD, NJ--He began his tenure as head coach in the middle of the George HW Bush administration. During that run, Mike Carter has seen his share of tremendous football teams at Bloomfield High.
But most importantly, Carter, a Bloomfield native and former Bengals standout athlete himself, still loves the day-to-day focus that is coaching and teaching at his alma mater.
"Let's play, that's all I can say," said Carter with a laugh, when reminded that this season will be his 30th as the program's head coach. "I love it here, always have. It's a great place to work and coach. The kids are tremendous, the coaches that have worked with me are outstanding and I'm a very lucky guy. I was told a long time ago that if I love what I do, I'll never have to work a day in my life, and that's been the case here."
Carter succeeded Chet Parlavecchio as head coach at BHS before the 1991 season. He was an assistant on Parlavecchio's staff for four seasons. Carter and Parlavecchio remain very good friends.
Thirty seasons as a head coach at one school is an incredible accomplishment, especially in this era. Carter's tenure with the Bengals is second only to the legendary Bill Foley, who served as the head football coach for 36 seasons, The varsity football field, at Bloomfield, is named for Foley.
This 2020 season, of course, has provided plenty of challenges. But so far, the practice sessions for the Bengals have gone well.
"The kids are working hard," said Carter. "There are some new rules, and we're abiding by them, but overall, our staff is excited about the season."
The team has been practicing under the new guidlines, which prohibit contact during practice. There are plenty of football drills which can be run and, of course, conditioning is important, especially during the summer months.
The 2020 schedule has been changed somewhat. The season will now begin on Oct. 2, and the Bengals are scheduled to host arch rival Montclair in a Super Football Conference Liberty White contest. Ironically, Carter's first-ever game as a head coach at BHS was against Montclair.
Bloomfield will stay home on Oct. 9 to play West Orange, then travels to Passaic to renew an old rivalry on the weekend of Oct. 16. The Bengals stay on the road on Oct. 23, to play Barringer, then return home on Oct. 30, to face East Orange. The regular season concludes on Nov. 6, and Bloomfield will visit Livingston that week.
A playoff format, or additional games, are slated for the next two weekends in November.
Passaic was a long-time rival of Bloomfield in football, but with the new divisional set ups, the schools haven't met on the gridiron since 2014.
"It was good to see Passaic on our schedule," said Carter
The team will continue practicing in August, then will get time off, as school hopefully begins in early September. Teams can begin practicing in pads in mid September and will probably have one scrimmage, before the start of the 6-game regular season, in October.