Photo via Jacqueline Ortiz, Parkland High School
By: Tony Venegas (@advenegas)
October 6th, 2016

 

The state of Texas has produced several great running backs over the years, and this year looks to be no exception. A couple of interesting trends: Two of the four running backs are from El Paso and four of the five are from west Texas. As we reach the second half of the regular season, we’ve seen some truly great performances so far this year.

Top 5 Leading Rushers (Yardage)

1. Deion Hankins (El Paso Parkland): (197 carries, 1755 yards, 292.5 yards/gm, 13 TD)

It’s been a breakout season for the sophomore. He’s ran up and down District 2-5A, rushing for 200 yards in every game this year and rushing for 300 yards three games in a row. He is the focal point of the Matadors offense and the nation’s third leading rusher has not been contained this season. He also picked up his first two collegiate offers this week from Texas Tech and UTEP, but if he continues his play, he’ll have plenty more offers to choose from by the time he’s done at Parkland.

2. AJ Reed (Post): (138 carries, 1,333 yards, 222.2 yards/gm, 18 TD)

Out in Class 2A, AJ Reed is one of two standouts on this list. Currently, the senior leads the state in rushing touchdowns for a Post squad that currently sits at 5-1 this season. He and Mike Phergeson lead a dynamic 1-2 combo for the Antelopes. He’s also scored five touchdowns in one game twice this season, so look for him to be near the top as the season moves along.

3. Mark Adams (New Deal): (91 carries, 1,144 yards, 228.8 yards/gm, 11 TD)

Standing at just 5’5”, senior Mark Adams has helped carry the Lions to a 5-0 start. The other 2A running back rushed for a season-high 411 yards against Sunray earlier this year and he also leads the team in receiving touchdowns. His versatility and quickness make him a great player and one to keep an eye on this season.

4. Josh Fields (El Paso Americas): (157 carries, 1,128 yards, 225.6 yards/game, 11TD)

The other El Paso running back on this list is a tough, physical runner for the Trail Blazers. Since the start of play in District 1-6A, he has gone off with some big performances. Fields had the single-best rushing game in the state so far this season, carrying the ball 35 times for 464 yards and 3 touchdowns against El Paso Coronado. He followed that up with 236 yards and 5 touchdowns against El Paso Socorro. Not too bad at all. UTEP has shown some of the most interest, but don’t be surprised if other schools come calling.

5. Nick Ward (Waco University): (168 carries, 977 yards, 162.8 yards/game, 11 TD)

It’s been a challenging year for the Waco University Trojans but Nick Ward has been a bright spot so far this year. The senior rushed for a season high 293 yards against Ellison earlier this year and has four 100-yard games to his credit. He also has four receiving touchdowns, so his stat line should be looking very good by the time this season’s over.