Bi-City running backs eye 2,000-yard mark

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 25, 2013 

When Harris County's Esaias Chapman ran for more than 2,000 yards in 2012, he eclipsed the rushing totals of some of the finest running backs in the Bi-City area.

Spencer running back Damarkus Robins was among the closest behind Chapman, totaling more than 1,500.

Hardaway's Justin Crawford rushed for "only" 825 yards last season.

The catch? That came in just five games, as he sat for the first half of the season waiting to be cleared by the Georgia High School Association after transferring to the school.

Central's do-everything back Traveon Samuel picked up 647 yards in a full season, but that came on only 83 carries, and he picked up 788 as a receiver as well.

While the 2,000-yard mark is a rare plateau at any level of football, this quartet has a chance to make the 2013 season one of the best in recent memory for running the football in the area.

Consider each of the player's goals:

Chapman, the veteran of the group who has already reached the magic number once, said he'd like to average 200 yards per game. Even if Harris County didn't make the playoffs, that would equal 2,000, though it's safe to assume the Tigers would probably be playing into the postseason with that type of production.

Asked if he can maintain the pace he was on last season, Crawford said he was aiming for a big number.

"I'm not being cocky or anything, but I'm aiming for 2,000 rushing yards," he said.

"I really feel like that's something I can do."

Robins set the same goal for himself, and it's a distinct possibility considering the improvement he's continued to make over the offseason.

"I became better all-around," Robins said. "On the field, I'm more balanced, I have better speed and strength, and I'm seeing the holes better. … I'd like to get to 2,000 yards this season."

Samuel is perhaps the most interesting to watch because, strictly as a running back, he would likely be in the same neighborhood as the other three in rushing yards. Because he does it all, however, his rushing total may be skewed.

As it is, he's one of the most highly-recruited players in the area, earning scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State, among others, and could tally well over 2,000 in all-purpose yards.

That's the way he likes it, he said.

"I don't really prefer a position," he said.

"I'm an athlete. I like to play all over. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense to have to cover a guy coming from a lot of different directions."

To put the number into perspective, only 10 players reached the 2,000-yard milestone in the state of Georgia last season, according to the Georgia High School Football Daily.

Chapman was one of them, finishing seventh in the state in rushing at 2,124.

The idea that four players in a single area could make the number or a similar number in all-purpose yards a legitimate goal, not just an outlandish number thrown out at the start of the season, seems incredible with that in mind.

But that is the reality this season.

The guys, of course, know that saying it doesn't make it so, and it's going to take a lot more than expectations to approach that level of success.

"I think being out there for a full season, I can be more consistent," Crawford said. "It's not easy, but I think with a full season that's something I can do."

Still, Samuel said the right thing for all of them:

"I'm really just trying to help the team win games," he said.

"I want to do whatever I can to help.

"Put pressure on defenses however I can. That's what I'm going to do."

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter@leprepsports.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service