Willis a bruising runner for Hornets

Aug. 27—Hancock County’s Logan Willis was prepared for a breakout season.

The junior fullback, who completed second on the group with 613 dashing yards and 7 touchdowns in as many video games final season, used final week’s 44-0 season-opening win over Breckinridge County as a real coming-out occasion.

The 6-foot, 210-pound bruiser rushed for 123 yards and two scores on simply 13 carries.

Not dangerous for a participant who began his highschool profession as an offensive lineman.

“I used to be a proper sort out,” Willis mentioned, laughing. “I shed some weight a little bit bit and acquired sooner and acquired stronger. I got here to summer time observe final 12 months, and the coaches simply mentioned, ‘You’re going to run the ball.’

“It’s undoubtedly been a reasonably large purpose of mine to begin working the ball.”

And run, he has.

In 2020, Willis was the second a part of the Hornets’ 1-2 punch, with Darian Clay serving because the group’s high rusher (920 yards, 13 TDs). With Clay having graduated, Willis sees the chance forward of him.

“Now, there’s actually loads of stress on me working the ball,” he admitted. “Over the summer time, I’ve been working arduous, weight-reduction plan, working, lifting and making an attempt to get in nice form like (Clay) was. I need to be pretty much as good as him — even higher than him.”

Hancock County coach Bobby Eubanks expects an enormous season from Willis, too.

“We knew he was going to come back in and be our major man at that fullback place,” mentioned Eubanks, whose group runs a potent triple-option offense. “We anticipated to present him the ball 10-plus instances. We did fairly properly and acquired to the working clock or else we’d’ve given him the ball extra.

“It wasn’t till final 12 months that we noticed he may run the ball, however he is a pure match. He’s big-bodied, and he runs very well for that dimension. He’s not afraid of contact, he takes care of the soccer — it is a pure place for him to transition to.”

In reality, Eubanks mentioned, the time Willis spent on the offensive line solely helped him develop as a participant.

“What we attempt to do, from the youth all the way in which up, is just not pigeon-hole children into sure positions,” he mentioned. “As they age they usually grow old and mature, then they will have a special appreciation for the entire product of the group and never at all times enjoying one place. He does have that perspective on what a lineman’s thought course of is.”

Willis nonetheless makes use of that bodily mindset to his benefit.

“Really, once I run, it is simply making an attempt to get by the road, get to the second degree and hit anyone and get as many yards as I can,” Willis mentioned. “Just preserve working, simply transferring my legs and getting yards.”

Eubanks just lately despatched Willis highlights of former NFL All-Pro fullback Mike Alstott, who performed 12 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as a mannequin to observe.

“That’s Logan’s fashion,” Eubanks mentioned. “That’s how we need to see him run, with a stability and getting a little bit bit decrease, driving these knees by and enhancing week to week. He’s just one 12 months into working the ball, so there’s loads of room to enhance there.”

Moving ahead, Willis has targets of his personal. Individually, he’d prefer to surpass 1,000 dashing yards. As a group, his sights are set on profitable a district championship.

“My plan is to go on the market and get as many yards as I can for the group,” he mentioned. “We’ve been working arduous all summer time, making an attempt to win district and beat each group dominantly.

“We know the potential we have now and the way good we might be.”

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