Jakayus Leaphart will not take all the credit for his tremendous rushing performance in Gilbert’s win against Brookland-Cayce on Friday.
Leaphart averaged eight yards per carry on his 34 attempts – posting a total of 274 yards and five touchdowns to power the Indians to a 55-21 victory.
Ask him how he managed that output, and he will mention every player but himself.
“Offensive line blocked real well all night. I ran behind Garnett Cason, who blocked and opened up holes for me to run,” he said. “On defense, they got all of the stops we needed to get the offense back on the field.”
Coach Barry Harley agreed.
“Moreso than anything, it was a complete team effort. It was probably as well as this group has played together all season,” Harley said.
He added that the Indians have more balance between the rushing and passing game now, with Nick Hendrix connecting with Tristan Register, opening up more opportunities for their ground game.
The Indians did need something special from Leaphart to snap their two-loss streak.
“We knew, game-plan wise, that for us to be successful we had to run the ball more effectively than we had in the past,” Harley said.
“We told him beforehand, we’re going to hand you the ball and you’re going to tote the load. But that’s not much different than what we’ve been telling him all season.”
Leaphart answered the call. As the game wore on and the Indians’ lead grew, Leaphart would not slow down.
“I wanted that win. I wanted a big win for the team,” Leaphart said.
That is why Harley put the ball in Leaphart’s hands with confidence.
“He’s a complete team guy. He’s going to do whatever is expected from him as a teammate. All of his teammates respect him because they know what he does, and he appreciates what they do,” Harley said.
“He’s not a guy you can just line up in the box and stuff,” he said. “I’m not saying there’s no one as good as him, but there’s no one better … Jakayus is capable of this every ball game,” Harley said.
Leaphart said he is looking to raise the bar.
“I want to improve myself each week as a teammate and a player,” said Leaphart, who averages 140 yards per game and has 984 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
“I want to help make the team better. I am just doing what I practice to do all week because team recognition comes with a win.”