Valley Preps

Strong running game pacing offense for Glenwood early on

Glenwood’s Kashe Boatner works through a drill in practice on Tuesday at the school. He has rushed for over 300 yards in the first two games.
Glenwood’s Kashe Boatner works through a drill in practice on Tuesday at the school. He has rushed for over 300 yards in the first two games. dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com

The Glenwood offense has not been perfect through the first two weeks of its season. The team has managed a 2-0 record in part because of a stingy defense, making up for a unit on the other side that has at times been inconsistent, turning the ball over, dropping passes, missing scoring opportunities in the red zone.

The real bright spot on that side of the ball, though, has been running back Kashe Boatner, who has rushed for over 300 yards in the first two games of the season. That running game has done just enough to help the Gators to victories, and it has given coach Jason Gibson reason to believe that the team may have a bright future this season if the rest of things can come together.

Boatner carried 20 times for 200 yards and a couple of scores in the season-opening win against Calvary Christian. Against Northside Methodist, he churned out 127, according to Gibson. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him in the offense and, in fact, the biggest thing holding him back is the coach himself.

“I need to not be stubborn and give him the ball 40 times instead of 20, how about that?” Gibson said with a laugh when asked what Boatner could continue to improve upon. “That’s on me. He hasn’t done anything wrong. We just need to give him the ball a little more.”

There’s plenty of reason to think that would help the offense even further. The Gators have been at their best when they’ve kept it on the ground. Thus far, the passing game is still a work in progress, with the team completing less than 50 percent of its passes.

“We’re not playing very well on offense,” Gibson admitted. “We’re sputtering in the red zone, leaving points on the board. To be able to be 2-0 and score in the 20s two straight times, turn the ball over four times, miss two field goals, have less than 50-percent passing and we’re dropping footballs, and we’re winning. I’m excited to see what happens when this offense pulls through and does what it’s supposed to be doing.”

Coupling an improved passing game with that running game would certainly make a difference. Gibson said that part of high school football was just sticking the ball in the hands of one of your best players, and that’s what Boatner is.

“He runs hard, and he’s a good football player,” Gibson said. “The line opens up holes, and he hits them.”

And, Gibson said, the unsung hero in the running game has been fullback John Burnett.

“He’s done a great job of opening great holes,” Gibson said. “Everyone sees the guy with the ball. They don’t always see the guy blocking.”

Glenwood gets its stiffest test of the season so far on Friday when it faces Lee-Scott. Lee-Scott is 1-1 this year, but has won this meeting four of the past five years. That’s not what Gibson is focusing on this week, though.

“I understand the gravity of the game and all that,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, about the rival, but it’s a big game on our schedule. But I’m not trying to be the September champion or the October champion. I’m trying to get in the playoffs and win. This is another game on our schedule to help us to our peak later on.”

David Mitchell: 706-571-8571, @leprepsports

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