We who are deeply connected to high school football, know that running the ball is a majority of the game plan.
When a team and or an individual can raise the performance to an extreme level, it's fun to see it.
West Point High School can be labeled as "Running Back U" for the last three seasons. From Kobe Smith's 2,200 yard season in 2015, to the tandem of Cameron Moore and Alex Hernandez getting 2,400 yards together, the Warriors have found another that is being a part of a cliche from the Vince Lombardi days with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s of "Run to win."
Hunter Persall has worked his way into being the lead runner for Don Farley's squad this season.
During the Warriors' three-game winning streak that has been games in 5A, Region 6, Persall has started solid and finished in a blaze of glory, especially in the last two contests that have been under the microscope of yours truly.
Fairview could not slow him down with Persall running his way to a career best 316 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns in a 27-14 victory. Persall has gained 588 yards in the last two assignments. That does not include a 90-yard kickoff return that started the game with Corner on September 22.
The success is not Persall alone. It is part of a pattern that includes hard work by his line, plus getting downfield blocks from receivers and other backs.
In the fourth quarter, Persall took the handoff eight times and amassed 103 yards. The biggest run in that period was a sprint down the right sidelines for 55 yards, two plays after the Warriors pounced on a mishandled snap by the Aggies at the West Point 43.
That gave the Warriors a two-touchdown margin with the defense keeping the Aggies from getting another score. West Point stopped them on downs and ran out the final 1:36 to set its sights on meeting co-leader Mortimer Jordan at home next Friday.
During the three-game streak, Persall has visited the opponents' end zone 11 times. His longest run for a score has been 75 yards in the game with Springville.
Persall has scored runs of better than 50 yards five times in this span. In the fourth quarter of his last two games, Persall has rushed for 215 yards. That shows good endurance when the game is on the line as it has been with Corner and Fairview on Friday night.
Mortimer Jordan is well aware of the Warriors' run-oriented offense and will look to plug up his lanes and keep him from having consistent gains and big runs.
This game is big for West Point in trying to move from third in the regional standings to possibly second and get a home assignment for round one.
Mortimer Jordan has roughed up the regional foes by a margin of 106-27. Average margin has been better than three touchdowns. Fairview took it on the chin three weeks ago 34-3.
All they hype going into the game soars like a bird in the sky. That is one thing I treasure in covering ball games. West Point and Mortimer Jordan will be at the top of the huge games for Friday the 13th.
Elsewhere from around the area:
Victory slips through the grasp for Cullman:
Cullman's quest to take Pell City out of the lead in 6A, Region 7 ended with a 19-16 heartbreaking loss in double OT Friday night. The Bearcats were getting field goals from Miguel Tizapa that kept them in the contest.
But on their second possession in extra play, he missed from 25 yards. Game over and the Bearcats now 2-2 in the region with a trip to Southside-Gadsden in two weeks and at home vs. Brewer on October 27.
Cullman is now trying to lock down the No. 3 seed in the region. At the present time, the Bearcats could be seeing a first round 6A playoff game with either Ramsay, Jackson-Olin and Shades Valley. All are tied behind leader Homewood with three weeks left in the region schedule. A fourth place region finish and the 'Cats could be locked up with Homewood, a team that is among the best in the state in this class.
The Bearcats are idle next week so they can heal up some injuries and brace themselves for a resurrection in the final two games of regional play during the final year for Mark Britton at his alma mater.
Unable to stay ahead in the game:
Holly Pond held an 8-7 halftime lead against Locust Fork on homecoming. But the Broncos were plagued by mistakes and two second half scores from the Hornets that sent them back to Locust Fork a 20-8 winner.
This loss snapped four consecutive wins for Mike Bates at Thomas-Michelfelder Field. It sent the Broncos to fourth in 3A, Region 6 with three games left on the format.
Locust Fork is third in the standings while Fultondale's 56-8 rout of J.B. Pennington knocked Pennington out of a first place tie.
A challenge awaits the Broncos this Friday in playing at Hanceville as they look to win away from home for the first time in 2017.
Vinemont can't keep the winning formula on its side:
Vinemont was going for a second straight win for new coach Stephen Robinson. The Eagles' momentum was torn down in Priceville, losing to the Bulldogs 37-14. The Eagles are 2-4 with three straight games in 3A, Region 6, going to J.B. Pennington next week then on to Susan Moore, before a home game the 27th with Holly Pond.
The Eagles will have to rise if they want to have an incredible run to finish the region an punch a playoff ticket for a first time head coach.
This week in area prep football:
Mortimer Jordan at West Point - Warriors meet the defending 5A, R6 champs at home.
Holly Pond at Hanceville - Broncos go for 1st road win in 2017, Bulldogs try to upset.
Haleyville at Good Hope - Raiders try to keep slim chances of being a postseason team.
Vinemont at J.B. Pennington - Eagles have their hands full in trip to Blountsville.
Cold Springs at Winston County - Eagles go for first win in 2A, Region 7 on the road.
Fairview at Curry - Aggies determined to avoid losing streak in 5A, Region 6.
Cullman is idle - Bearcats have their bye week at a time they need it.
Sportspage photo of Fairview-West Point game by Johnny Thornton.