Thursday, March 5, 2015

Holy Spirit RB duo on verge of state record

Holy Spirit RB duo on verge of state record

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Four thousand rushing yards is such a rare number that just two pairs of South Jersey backs from the same school have ever passed that plateau.

But this year, two running backs in the same class at the same school are on pace to crack that mark and make state history.

Holy Spirit's Donta Pollock and Nigel Jones would become the first teammmates to pass 4,000 career rushing in the same season, according to South Jersey sports historian Chuck Langerman.

Not only that, but Langerman thinks that they might be the first set of classmates in NATIONAL high school history to pull it off, but it's tough to verify stuff like that.

"Donta and Nigel are obviously very gifted athletes but it is their work ethic that has allowed them to have such tremendous success," Holy Spirit coach Chalie Roman said.

The 5-10, 200-pound Pollock, who is the power runner in Holy Spirit's "Smash and Dash" combination, already has 4,245 career yards. He's on pace on break the South Jersey record of 5,380 yards, set by Ocean City's Kevin Sinclair in 1996.

The 5-10, 190-pound Jones, who is the speedier and more elusive of the two backs, has 3,543 career yards.

Pollock and Jones will lead Holy Spirit (3-2), the No. 5 team in The Inquirer Top 10, into a Cape-Atlantic League showdown with No. 6 Hammonton (5-0) on Friday night.

Twenty-five runners in South Jersey history have gained more than 4,000 career rushing yards. But just two sets of runners from the same school -- two from Paulsboro and two from Salem -- have accomplished it.

Paulsboro quarterback Kevin Harvey, whose final season was 1995, gained 4,028 yards. Paulsboro running back Isaac Redman, whose final season was 2002, gained 5,255 yards.

Salem running back A.B. Brown, whose final season was 1983, gained 4,017 yards. Salem running back Derek White, whose final season was 1988, gained 4,312 yards.

Langerman makes a good point in noting that a "perfect storm" of circumstances must occur for classmates to both gain that many yards -- two great backs who get some serious playing time as freshmen, a fairly equal number of carries, a lot of team success (extra games) and a run-oriented team over four seasons.

Pollock gained 506 yards as a freshman, 906 as a sophomore and 1,878 last season. He has 955 yards this season.

Jones gained 1,207 yards as a freshman, 1,033 as a sophomore and 744 last season, when he battled injuries. He has 559 yards this season.

The Spartans will play at least five more games and could play as many as seven, depending on the Non-Public 2 tournament. Holy Spirit is the defending Non-Public 3 state champion and looms as the likely favorite in Non-Public 2, although No. 9 Camden Catholic (5-0) also will be a strong contender.

Both runners benefit from Holy Spirit's powerful offensive line, which includes Villanova-bound Nico D'Angelo along with fellow seniors Joe Bodenlos, Dom LaFragola and A.J. Thomas and junior Steve Dominowski.

"They are two of the most competitive kids I have ever encountered," Roman said of Pollock and Jones. "When you combine that with a terrific offensive line, good things happen."

-- Phil Anastasia

 

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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