Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Football: The year of the running back

Forget all that talk about the emergence of the pass-happy spread offense as the new wave in SJ football.

Football: The year of the running back

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Forget all that talk about the emergence of the pass-happy spread offense as the new wave in SJ football.

This is the new golden age of the running back.

There's never been a season like 2011 when it comes to running backs, and the most accomplished of those guys have two more games to add to their incredible rushing totals.

The SJ record for rushing yards in a season is 2,286 by Kingsway's Gary Fauntleroy in 1994. Before this season, just 10 backs in SJ history had cracked 2,000 yards.

But Millville senior Alquann Jones and Glassboro junior Corey Clement both are on pace to shatter the SJ record for rushing yards in a season.

And that's happened in the same season in which Holy Spirit's Donta Pollack and Nigel Jones have set state history by becoming the first set of classmates to rush for more than 4,000 career yards.

The 5-8, 165-pound Jones has 2,036 yards this season. He ran for 257 in a wild, 42-41 victory over Washington Township in the SJ Group 4 semifinals on Friday night.

"He's just a terrific football player," Millville coach Jason Durham said of Jones. "He finds a way. He's just a special back."

Jones still has two games to play -- Thursday in the annual Thanksgiving Da game with Vineland and Dec. 2 in the Group 4 title game against the Pennsauken-Triton winner at Rowan. He could approach 2,500 yards this season.

The same goes for the 5-11, 190-pound Clement.

He ran for 228 yards on 38 carries in a 28-14 victory over Haddon Heights in the SJ Group 1 semifinals on Friday night.

Clement has 2,008 yards. He has two games remaining -- Wednesday night at Deptford and the SJ Group 1 title game Dec. 3 vs. Pennsville at Rowan. He could approach 2,500 yards this season, too.

"The first thing with Corey is heart -- he's all that," Glassboro coach Mark Maccarone said. "He'a got the will to be the very best and not let his teammates down."

While Alquann Jones and Clement are fashioning incredible seasons, Holy Spirit's Pollock and Nigel Jones are putting the finishing touches on sensational careers.

Pollock ran for 227 yards and four TDs Friday night in a 62-13 victory over Montclair Kimberley in the Non-Public 2 semifinals. Jones ran for 83 yards and two TDs.

Pollock has 4,544 career yards. Jones has 4,019. They are believed to be the first set of teammates to pass 4,000 rushing yards in the same season.

Holy Spirit coach Chalie Roman said Pollock has recovered from a knee injury that was slowing him down this season.

"Donta looked fantastic," Roman said.

-- 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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