By Phil Anastasia
Kenyatta Greene ran for 1,295 yards last season.
He might not gain that many this season.
But Northern Burlington coach Jon Reisling says that all yards are not created equal, and that Greene has been picking up some valuable ones as a senior.
"He's not putting up the numbers he was last year," Reisling said of Greene. "But he's gaining the tough yards when we need them."
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Greene is among South Jersey's leaders in touchdowns with 11. He's helped Northern Burlington to a 5-1 record heading into Saturday's showdown with 6-0 Lawrence.
"I've become more of an all-around back," Greene said. "You need me to block, I'll block. I'll run inside. I'm a lot stronger than I was last season."
The speedy Greene was a key to Northern Burlington's late-season surge in 2012. He sparked the Greyhounds to a surprising run to the South Jersey Group 3 title game, where they lost to Delsea.
Northern Burlington, the No. 22 team in The Inquirer Top 25 rankings, has picked up where it left off in 2012. The Greyhounds are sitting fourth in South Jersey Group 3 in power points with 73, thanks in large part to a victory over 4-2 Rancocas Valley, a South Jersey Group 5 program.
And with Lawrence, a Central Jersey Group 3 power, and Central Jersey Group 4 program Burlington Township (5-1) on the schedule before the playoff cutoff, the Greyhounds are in prime position to earn a high seed and a pair of home games.
"I like where we are as a team right now," Greene said. "We seem to be getting better and better every week."
Greene has put together some big games. He scored four touchdowns in a win over Princeton, and three in a win over West Windsor-Plainsboro South. Last Friday, he ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries in a win over West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
"He's not getting as many carries," Reisling said. "But he's doing a great job in all areas for us. He's become a better back."
Greene ran for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore at Burlington City. He attends Northern Burlington as a school-choice student.
Greene has drawn recruiting itnerest from NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision programs such as Wagner. He has a chance to join a relatively exclusive club of South Jersey backs who have run for more than 1,000 yards in three seasons.
But he said he's more concerned with helping the Greyhounds capture the West Jersey Patriot title and make another run at the South Jersey Group 3 crown. If that means fewer carries and more tough inside yards, he said he's happy to do it.
"Last year people said I was just a speed back," Greene said. "I wanted to come into this year and show everybody I could shoulder the heavy load."
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