Now It's Down To Two Backs

TPI takes in a legend in the making as Class A Cayuga RB Traylon Shead and the Wildcats battled at Alto Friday. Can Shead, who has nearly 9,000 rushing yards, chase down the national all-time rushing leader Ken Hall of Sugar Land, Texas?


The legend of Kenneth Hall, the nation's all-time rushing leader from Sugar Land, is unprecedented with 17 national football records set in 1953 —  virtually impossible for today's stars to reach.

Or is it?

11,232 rushing yards by the Sugar Land legend from 1950-53 still spurs plenty of tales about his mix of size and speed on the gridiron:
• 520 rushing yards on just 11 carries against Houston Lutheran in 1953 — he scored 49 points and averaged 47.2 yards per carry
• Rushed for more than 100 yards in 38 consecutive games
• Finished with 899 career points after rushing for 4,045 yards his senior year

Class A's Cayuga RB Traylon Shead shares many similarities with the Sugar Land Express legend Hall. They almost seem like fantastically-talented relatives arriving on the gridiron three generations apart.

Shead has accumulated 8,988 rushing yards in his four-year career after running for 3,504 yards in 2008 with 52 touchdowns as a junior. As a sophomore, the Cayuga RB gained 2,810 yards and scored 33 TDs. He ran for 1,282 yards as a freshman.

Consider:
• Both Hall and Shead starred as running backs at small schools where opponents were simply outmatched
• Both possessed the rare combination of size, speed and a muscular, 200+-pound frame. Hall was 6-1, 205 pounds as a senior; Shead is 6-2 and 210 as a senior in 2009. The average Class A lineman weighs less than 230 pounds
• Both could beat you with speed or power. Hall was a sprint champion in track, able to a 9.7 second 100-yard dash and a 49 second 400. Shead runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and absolutely punishes defenders who try to halt his progress; his breakaway speed is hard to match in Class A football

On Friday night in Alto, Cayuga unleashed Shead on the Yellowjackets in a battle of state-ranked warriors. Shead rushed for 103 yards and pulled down two receiving touchdown passes to lead the Wildcats to a narrow victory.

Virtually every yard he gained against a quick, powerful Alto defense required low, power running, and Shead delivered. His first step and ability to hit the hole quickly kept the swarming Yellowjackets on guard because any step into the secondary could be a rushing TD for Shead.

Shead's most powerful statement in his running was his Earl Campbell-style hits on defenders. If one defender stood between Shead and the secondary, that defender experienced the full force of a power RB who can squat nearly 550 pounds and benches 400.

When it was all said and done, however, Alto held Shead to his third-lowest rushing total of the season. That explains why the state-ranked district foes went to overtime before Cayuga won 43-36. Perhaps these two top 10 squads meet again in December with a regional title on the line.

Now all eyes are on Shead, who has rushed for 1,392 yards after eight games during his senior season. The Wildcats face Grapeland in their final regular season contest before the postseason run begins.

Shead ranks second all-time among Texas rushers, trailing only Hall. But the Cayuga legend needs 2,245 yards to surpass Hall's national rushing record. Currently Shead ranks 10th all-time nationally.

So what does the dynamic RB need to do to catch Hall's untouchable record that has stood for 56 years? He needs to average 321 yards per game and lead Cayuga to the state title game for the second consecutive season.


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