Starkville Academy running back Colby Runnels (3) runs away from a potential tackle earlier this season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Being the number one tailback for a football team can bring on quite a bit of stress and excitement.
Senior running back Colby Runnels not only holds the role of the top running back for the Starkville Academy Volunteers, but he's also a captain on team.
According to Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill, Runnels is one of the best players for the job.
"He just brings a real intrinsic value of a young man," Terrill said. "(He's) a super young man with tremendous character that's fun to coach and be around. He is a very talented athlete. He does a great job of running and catching the football. This year he is contributing a lot of defense.
"You always look for guys that bring glue to the program. He just has a way of bringing people together. Sometimes you get around players that make others better when they're around them and he's that kind of guy."
For Runnels, being a captain is something he has been waiting for a long time. He does not take his job lightly either.
"It's an honor, a privilege and a huge responsibility," Runnels said. "You got younger guys looking up to you. You have got to perform. You have to do your job, but you also have to make sure other people are doing their job. You have to make sure people are working and you have to make sure you are not slacking and being a bad example for other people."
A season ago, Runnels was in a back up role. Coming into his senior season with the Vols, he felt a little bit of pressure.
"(Ryan) Mann being the number one back last year (and) rushed for 1,200 yards, I knew I would get a lot more this year," Runnels said. "I have been working hard during the offseason, (and) getting stronger in the weight room."
Runnels hasn't really been happy with his play in the first half of the season for SA. He was held to 66 yards on 15 carries in last week's loss to Jackson Prep.
"I'm not fully pleased with the way I have been playing," Runnels said. "I haven't got the yards I would have liked to have gotten so far."
Terrill knows stats are not on the mind of his tailback. He has seen the compassion Runnels has for his team.
"He is always a humble young man," Terrill said. "He really just cares about this team winning. He's never had any conversations about personal accolades, how many times I carried or what my stats are. He really is a team player."
As for the Vols (3-3, 1-1), Runnels believes the team is getting on track and getting ready to make another push to Clinton.
"Our team is coming together, our line is stepping up and this is part of the year that really counts," Runnels said. "Hopefully, things will be picking up. We are on the right track right now.
"Some young guys are going to have to step up and our line is going to have to step up. I have a lot to look forward to with our line playing this well in this part of the season."
Runnels and SA looks to get back to its winning ways when it travels to Gallman to take on Copiah Academy Friday.
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