Running in tandem
A pair of teams near the top of the state ratings have proven that a share-the-wealth approach can work in high school football.
Cabell Midland, the top team in AAA, has already seen a pair of its stable of running backs reach 1,000 yards for the season - tailback David Gaydosz and fullback Lowell Farley - while Scott has cemented its status in AA with a trio of ball-carriers.
Midland, which returned four of its five starters along the offensive line from last year, averages just under 400 yards on the ground per game, and besides Gaydosz and Farley features the bursts of Kasey Thomas and Steve Matthews. All four have turned in 100-yard rushing games this year.
"It's a good thing,'' said Knights coach Luke Salmons. "They know they're part of our offense, and if you don't have the ball, you've got to block. They know they can't be selfish. They're very focused, and very understanding. Winning helps that, too, but they understand.''
Farley said the team's secret comes down to hard work and dedication.
"It's been countless hours in the weight room over the winter and summer - all year long, working out, getting ready for the season,'' Farley said. "We haven't worked hard in past years, truthfully. When we get down in games and we're losing, we think of all that hard work we put in and [realize] we're not giving that up.''
Scott (6-1), a top-five team in AA, has hitched its playoff hopes to a triumvirate of backs that includes senior Robert Bias, junior Cameron Loftus and sophomore Tristan Crone.
Bias leads the squad, which averages a little more than 300 yards per game rushing, with a season total of 915 yards and eight TDs, while Loftus has 602 yards and nine scores and Crone 421 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"We feel confident with the backfield we've got,'' said Skyhawks coach Shane Griffith. They share their roles. They're not jealous.
"It's like a basketball team. You're looking for that guy that's got the hot hand. Sometimes different running backs feel it. They're seeing the gaps and the holes. At halftime, we see which one is reading the blocks well. These guys do a great job of sharing that role.''
Tommy R. Atkinson contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.