Stable of Running Backs lead GWA

It¹s common for high school football teams that begin a season 12-0 and advance to the state semifinals to have a quality running back. The George Walton Academy football team has a stable of running backs,however, that might be unmatched in GISA history.

No one back has remarkable stats, but when you combine the work of each one, then it¹s not hard to understand why Westfield coach Ronnie Jones is concerned.

"They just keep running those backs in one after another," Jones said. "You can¹t really form a game plan to stop one of them because you never know who will get the football next. Their running game is really something special"

Cole Cown, Chris McLendon, Ted Kinney, Cody Dixon and Chris Wallace have each imposed their share of damage on the defense of GWA opponents in 2003. Spearheading the Bulldogs' option oriented attack, the running backs have been able to help lead the team to a perfect 12-0 record and a No. 1 ranking which has remained in their grasp all season.

Even with Dixon battling a back injury in recent weeks, the GWA running attack has not missed a beat. Coaches feared Dixon¹s absence for the opening round game against Sherwood might be felt more on defense, but Ron Rice filled that role.

Dixon returned last Friday and played exclusively on defense in the quarterfinal win against Stratford. "There¹s no doubt Cody is the centerpiece of our defense, but we also love for him to be able to carry the football," GWA coach Don Williams said. "We are fortunate to have good depth at running back so it hasn¹t hurt us yet. I think both Chris Wallace and Chris McLendon have really picked up their games recently and Cole and Ted have been solid all season."

McLendon and Wallace are used more on the outside running attack while Cown, Dixon and Kinney are used primarily to pound the football in the middle of the opposition¹s defensive front.

McLendon is GWA¹s top running back with 694 yards followed by Cown (453), Wallace (428), Kinney (396) and Dixon (313). Backup running back Mitchell Breda has also rushed for 344 yards in strictly backup duty. Westfield¹s Jones said he hopes his offense can control the football and keep the GWA stable of running backs on the sidelines.

"You have to keep it away from them," Jones said. "Any of those backs can hurt you on any given play."

GWA senior quarterback Arthur Williams has also been a vital part of the Bulldogs' ground attack. Williams is a danger to run himself and has also seen an increase in his number of pass attempts recently. Williams has rushed for 581 yards directing the option.

"Our running game has been a definite strength," Williams said. "We hope to continue our running success when we go on the road."

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