At every level of football no matter what the offensive scheme, there comes a time when teams must run the ball to win games. At no level is the running back position more important than in high school. This fall in the state of California, when football season begins, many team's hopes will ride on the strong, fast legs of their running back. Here is a listing of some of California's top returning backs.
If Mission Viejo hopes to repeat as the Southern Section Division 2 champion big Chane Moline will need to repeat last year's performance of nearly 1,900 rush yards. At 6'0 240 pounds and running in the 4.6 range, Moline is the prototypical 21st century fullback combining size and speed. Along with his run game, Moline has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, last year catching over twenty passes.
This past season the Norco Cougars went 12-2 fueled by the strong running of Toby Gerhart. At over 220 pounds, Gerhart runs in the mid to upper 4.4's. Look for Gerhart to go over the 2,000 yard mark once again as college recruiters stand in line for this back.
LA Dorsey's Stafon Johnson used his 4.4 speed to rush for over 1,800 yards last year as a junior. That stat line is even more in impressive in that Johnson shared the backfield with teammate Jeremiah Johnson who himself rushed for 1,300 yards. With the bulk of the carries this fall, Stafon should post monster numbers for the Dons.
Of this group, Sylmar's C.J. Gable may be the most versatile. It is this versatility that has recruiters across the nation showing great interest in Gable who rushed for over 2,000 yards last year. The 6'1 195 Gable's recruiting stock may even be greater in that he as good on defense as he is on offense. Gable had 4 interceptions and over 80 tackles from his safety position.
Two other backs garnering strong national interest are Lakewood's Justin Robertson and William Taft's Andre Harris. Robertson a 225 pound fullback with 4.6 speed has attracted attention from USC, UCLA, Oregon, Cal and Alabama. After playing last year for 1-9 Pacific Palisades Charter, and averaging nearly nine yards a carry, the 6'2 215 pound Harris, should put up big numbers in the Taft program.
Here are some more of the top returning backs from across California to keep an eye on in the fall of 2005. Brian Patton 5'8 190 of Justin-Siena rushed for over 2,000 last season. James Montgomery of Cordova went for just over 1,900. Spencer Rodney of Rosamond High, Joe Trombetta of Casa Grande, P.J. Vallier of Trabuco Hills, Ken Ashley of Venice and Anthony Harding of Pitman all went for over 1,700 yards last year and should have big senior campaigns.
Others To Watch:
Audarrius Bailey Arcadia High School
Donald Butler (Fair Oaks) Del Campo High School
Garren Demery (El Cajon) Valhalla High School
Miles Edman Malibu High School
Rodney Glass (Sherman Oaks) Notre Dame High School
Quentrel Hunter (San Jose) Independence High School
Erin Madden (Fontana) Miller High School
Jeff Quinn Tustin High School
Christian Ramirez Imperial High School
Juan Ramirez Kerman High School
Jeff Rapoport (Westlake Village) Westlake High School
Ernesto Sanchez Calexico High School
Brandon Scott (North Hollywood) Campbell Hall High School
Tracy Slocum Clovis East High School
Brandon Sullivan Poway High School
Morris Walker Granite Bay High School