East Central head coach Seth Smith was forced to use his second team tailback Friday night against Perry Central.
Starting running back Nate Cohen was out with a sprained ankle. He had been the backbone of the Hornets offensive attack having rushed for 490 yards, netting 8 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns.
Enter 152 pound junior...A.J. Davis. He responded in a big way, 34 carries, 323 yards and four touchdowns helping lead East Central past Perry Central 42-20.
That was the Hornets first win of the season after three straight defeats.
A.J. Davis is the Mississippi Power Player of the Week.
Davis said,"I was the next man up. Like there was nobody else besides me and I had to get the job done.@
Davis says injured tailback Nate Cohen helped him on the sidelines during the game and Cohen says he'll do anything to help the team win.
"Every time I came off the sidelines he was teaching me what I didn't do and what I needed to do right,"stated Davis.
Cohen said,"Being a great running back, problems are going come. You're going to have obstacles and people will have to step up in your position and knowing me I try to encourage him the best I can and teach him everything I know so he can be the best he can be.
Coach Smith is building a program at East Central, a program that he hopes can compete for a playoff spot in the Region 4-5A ranks this year. When a player goes down, he expects the next one in line to step up.
Smith said,"When Nate got hurt we hated it, but at the same time we knew A.J. has been working hard and he's a kid that embodies everything we want. Very tough young man. He's got a great attitude and plays with great effort. The offensive line did a great job in opening holes and he went out and ran the ball hard and was blessed to have some success."
The Hornets have an open date Friday and return to the playing field September 26 opening Region 4-5A play at Stone High.