Mac McCurry doesn't know how much more sophomore running back Blake Zeman will grow, but the first-year Marion County football coach knows he has a cornerstone for the future.
The 5-foot-9, 205-pounder approached zenith-like numbers Friday, outdueling Lookout Valley's Jamal Jones in Marion's 51-47 victory and earning the distinction of the Times Free Press prep football player of the week.
"It was an interesting game," McCurry said. "Lord have mercy. They punted once and we didn't punt at all. If not for getting a lot of third- and fourth-down conversions, we'd have gotten beat."
While Jones gained 239 yards and scored four touchdowns, Zeman gained 337 yards on 24 rushing attempts, scoring touchdowns on runs of 50, 35, 29 and 56 yards. He also scored two two-point conversions and threw a 12-yard TD pass.
"He's quicker than he is fast, probably about a 4.6 40, but he is more powerful than quick or fast," McCurry said. "He's fast enough and he has great feet and great hips with the moves that the good ones have. He reminds me of [former Florida and Dallas Cowboys standout] Emmitt Smith."
Veteran Marion County statistician Dave Daffron said Zeman reminded him of Eric Westmoreland, the ex-Warrior who went on to play linebacker at the University of Tennessee and in the NFL (Jacksonville, Cleveland).
Zeman reached four digits in 2012 rushing yards Friday and now has 1,010 yards and 14 TDs, with a per-game average of 144.3 yards and a per-carry standard of 9.2.
His numbers might be even more impressive if starting wingbacks Deon Riley and Chandler Willis, also sophomores, had been in the backfield with him all season. Both were back on the field Friday, Willis having been out since Game 2 against Bledsoe and Riley having missed since Game 3 against Whitwell.
"It helped that both of those guys were back, and after the game we obviously congratulated Blake on his game," McCurry said. "But you always have to have a good offensive line in a wing-T [formation] to have that kind of explosiveness, and the offensive line has really come on the last couple of weeks."
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 ...