In one rainy night on a muddy track, Andrew Price jumped from third to first among Signal Mountain rushing leaders and from fourth to second among its touchdown-makers.
The senior, a nephew of Eagles coach Bill Price, earned Times Free Press Player of the Week honors by rushing for 333 yards and six touchdowns in his team's 76-35 victory over Chattanooga Christian.
It gave him reason to remember his 18th birthday, which came the day after his record-setting performance in his team's final regular season home game. The Eagles are off this week but will play at Sequatchie County on Oct. 28.
"Andrew has been very consistent," Price said. "He hasn't gotten a lot of the limelight others have gotten, but he has been our most consistent player over the last two seasons. Over three seasons he has rushed for close to 2,000 yards."
The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Price had a neck injury last year that slowed him some, and he was hampered early this year by first a groin strain and then a pulled hamstring. Still, before Friday night he was averaging close to five yards per carry. Now, his per-rush average is up to 7.7 yards.
"He does a lot of the dirty work, too. He'll do the blocking and carry the ball on short-yardage plays. He'll lead block. He does the things that don't get you the glory. He's probably had more carries than anybody that's played here,' Price said.
While noting his nephew's willingness to sacrifice, he also talked about his willingness to step up.
"We had some people missing and some people banged up and he took the responsibility and did a great job with it," the coach said. "There's no doubt he's a team player. Last year he hurt his neck against South Pittsburg, but the next week he's out there playing and blocking with a neck brace on. Those are the kids that might get overlooked, but that's what makes a team successful and we have a bunch of kids like that."
It's doubtful that Price will play at the next level so his playing days are winding down.
"Yeah, his playing days are probably over but that's OK. He has a [championship] ring on his finger, and he's had a very successful career," the coach said. "I'd like to see him come back and coach with me. He'd be an asset, but I don't think that's the route he wants to go. He's looking at turf management, but whatever he does he'll be successful."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...