It’s always a fun sight when everybody tuning in to a given football game, be it via television, over the radio or in person, knows which player will get the ball on nearly every play. It’s even more fun when it doesn’t matter.
Such was the situation inside Kinnett Stadium on Friday night, where Kendrick faced Jordan for its homecoming game.
If you haven’t heard of Rayshawn Hill by now, you should probably take note.
Hill, the Cherokees’ senior running back, accounted for nearly all of their yards. He scored both of the Cherokees’ first-half touchdowns; both from more than 40 yards out and both in eerily similar fashion, as Kendrick upset Jordan 28-27.
Hill took his fifth carry of the night 71 yards for a score, a play in which he burst up the middle, cut outside and beat a Red Jackets cornerback to the sideline. They weren’t catching him after that. Two carries later, Hill again found himself sprinting into the end zone, once again taking a handoff up the middle and once again forcing his way through the Red Jackets defense.
“I just left everything on the field,” Hill said. “... (The team) labeled me as the captain. So I told my team, ‘I got y’all, and y’all got me.’”
It’s usually at this point where a defense would make adjustments. It was halftime, after all, so the Red Jackets had 20 minutes to concoct a game plan to slow down the senior.
The result was, well, not great.
Perhaps the most telling series of events happened right out of halftime. Hill lost his helmet on a play and had to sit out a play, and the Cherokees went three-and-out. After Jordan took back the ensuing punt, Hill took his next carry (again, up the middle) 57 yards for another score. Everybody knew he was getting the ball, and nobody could do much to stop him, save for a fumble, which the Red Jackets recovered, in the third quarter.
Hill, who said he models his game after Saints running back Alvin Kamara and New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell, finished the night with 312 yards and four touchdowns. Two of his touchdown runs came from more than 70 yards out and two came prior to the third play of a given drive.
Kendrick head coach Andre Slappey has his signature win.
It took until late, but the Cherokees defense came up big on fourth down to seal the win. Facing fourth-and-17, the Red Jackets called a hook-and-ladder, and appeared to convert the first down. The lateral went forward, though, granting the Cherokees the ball and the chance to kneel out the clock.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but the thing about it was, we played for the duration of the game,” Slappey said. “We stayed dialed in.”