Seminole Ridge's three-headed running back to face tough test against Treasure Coast
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
by Joseph Kairalla
The theme for Seminole Ridge's high-powered running game this season has been simple — three heads are better than one.
While most high school football teams are lucky to have one talented running back, the Hawks have three — senior Javian Wrisper, junior Tyler Butler and sophomore Gary Holmes — who are the focus of coach Matt Dickmann's multiple motion offense.
The three backs are the key reason Seminole Ridge is making its second playoff appearance in school history when it travels to Fort Pierce's Lawnwood Stadium tonight to face Treasure Coast in a Class 6A regional quarterfinal. Both teams are seeking their historic first post-season win.
Wrisper, Butler and Holmes have combined to rush for 1,774 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging more than 6 yards per carry. What Dickmann likes best about the trio is that each brings something different to the table.
"Javian is the veteran leader. When we need those tough yards late in the game, he's the one we lean on," Dickmann said of Wrisper, who has a team-high 11 touchdowns and is close to getting scholarship offers from several colleges.
"It may sound weird, but he kind of reminds me of Walter Payton the way he'll hit you, spin off of you and then fight for that extra yard."
While Wrisper may the most reliable of the backs, Holmes is the most explosive and Butler the most powerful. Holmes, who runs a 4.4 in the 40, leads the team with 621 yards rushing and has two touchdowns of 80 yards or more.
"Gary is pure natural talent; he's a game-changer," Dickmann said. "If he gets a seam forget about it. There are not many sophomores who can step in and have the impact he's had."
When Dickmann talks about his running backs, it's hard for him to contain the excitement in his voice, especially when he speaks of Butler.
"Tyler is old school, a pure locomotive. He's the Larry Csonka of the group," Dickman said. "He loves contact and whoever tries to tackle him, he makes them remember it."
All three backs are going to have to be at their best tonight for the Hawks to beat a stingy Treasure Coast defense. The Titans defense features three Division 1 prospects, including linebackers Jeff Luc, rated as one of the top linebackers in the state, and Deon Rogers, who has orally committed to Georgia.
The Titans' opponents have averaged just over 11 points and 70 yards rushing per game.
Luc thinks the Titans can stop the Hawks' running game.
"It's what we do!" he said emphatically.
Wrisper says Seminole Ridge won't be intimidated by the Titans' defense and doesn't believe Treasure Coast has played a team as tough as the Hawks.
"All we have to do is block; we're here for a reason too," Wrisper said. "They haven't played a team with an offense as physical as ours, but I guess we'll see how things play out."