TRION, Ga. — Kaleb Park has one of the best views in the house when Rob Brown takes off on one of his patented long touchdown runs, so the Trion High School senior offensive lineman is the perfect person to describe his star teammate's playing style.
Park has witnessed all 37 of Brown's touchdown runs this year and has played a huge part in the senior back's state-leading 2,450 rushing yards.
"It's nitty gritty," Park rattles off when queried about Brown's style, not realizing he's also describing his teammate's no-nonsense attitude. "He's not fancy. He's a power back, so if he wants yards, he's going to get yards. But he's also meticulous with his cuts. Everything he does has a reason, and it shows when he takes off down the field.
"He's fast, he's strong, he's big, and he knows how to play football. He can outrun a guy off the edge or he can run them over."
This Nitty Gritty Hurt Band has taken the Peach State by storm over the past month. With Park and his large linemates leading the way, the 6-foot, 205-pound Brown has put together the best four-game rushing stretch in the recorded history of Georgia prep football — and it started with a game that went just a half due to inclement weather.
On that stormy night against Armuchee, Brown rushed for 290 yards and four touchdowns. He followed up with 407 yards and seven touchdowns against Mount Zion-Carroll, leading to Brown being named player of the week locally by the Times Free Press and statewide by Georgia High School Football Daily. That now ranks as only his second-best performance, though.
After scorching rival Gordon Lee for 277 yards and four scores to close the regular season, he led the Bulldogs past Social Circle in the first round of the GHSA Class A public playoffs with 448 yards and five touchdowns. It is the second-highest recorded rushing total in state postseason history, and with it Brown became the only player in Georgia to have two 400-yard games in one season, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.
The four-game totals: 1,412 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. He also added three touchdown catches during that span, and his next chance to add to the string comes in the postseason's second round on Friday at Wilcox County (8-3).
However, it may be easier to tackle Brown than to get him to talk about himself. He much prefers to discuss Trion's linemen ("They are the backbone of the team, and everything I get is because of them") or the team ("We are extremely strong and physical, and we showed that's the way we're going to play from the start of the season").
That part of Brown's personality, coach Sean Patrick said, is a key underlying factor in the team's rise from 3-7 last year to 10-1 this fall.
"It's special when your best player is also your most humble and is its hardest worker," Patrick said. "He's a great player, but as great a player he is, he's an even better person."
He's also a highlight waiting to happen. Brown has four touchdown runs of 70 yards or longer, and of his 19 touchdown over the past four games, only one is shorter than 10 yards; 11 of the scores have been 30 yards or longer.
"He's known for his power, but I don't see many people catching him," Patrick said.
While Brown is reluctant to talk about himself, he nonetheless exudes a confidence that is contagious once the pads are on. The killer instinct kicks in.
"I'm going to get what I want," Brown replied when asked his mindset going into a game. "I'm going to put my life on the line every play.
"My linemen ask me how many yards I'm getting, and I tell every single one that it's ever how many they will let me get. It's just the way we do things. We just bang every play."
The record run has — finally, in his coaches' and teammates' eyes — caught the attention of college recruiters. He has garnered four offers from small schools in the past three weeks, and some big names, including Auburn, have inquired about him.
"It's been pretty crazy, and my phone has been going off nonstop," Brown said with a laugh before turning serious. "The process had been kind of a downer, but I didn't really let it get to me. My goal has always been to be successful and go to college and to win as many games as we can."
"That's what motivates me."
CHATTANOOGA-AREA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
All games 7 p.m. local time
Class 1A quarterfinal
Gordonsville (11-1) at South Pittsburg (8-2)
Class 4A quarterfinal
Upperman (11-1) at Red Bank (9-3)
Class 5A quarterfinal
Rhea County (10-2) at Powell (10-2)
Division II-AAA semifinal
Pope John Paul II (8-4) at McCallie (11-0)
GHSA playoffs, second round
All games 7:30 p.m.
Class A public
Trion (10-1) at Wilcox County (8-3)
Ringgold (10-1) at Thomson (10-0)
Northwest Whitfield (8-3) at Bainbridge (8-3)
Calhoun (9-2) at Ware County (9-1)