East Clarendon's Rod Shaw was busy on Friday night.
The Wolverines were looking for an offensive spark as they hosted Hannah-Pamplico, and Shaw was more than happy to deliver. The senior running back toted the rock 32 times and tallied a ridiculous 182 yards, pacing the EC offense as they earned their first victory under head coach Larry Cornelius.
Shaw's two-touchdown performance was also enough to earn recognition as the Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week.
"They've been real supportive," Shaw said of the East Clarendon community. "I feel blessed to have it."
Cornelius was thrilled to have a dependable back like Shaw for games like the win over HP.
"He obviously did a good job. Rod has been progressing each and every game," Cornelius said. "He's been steady through the first four games, and we're just looking to build off that."
Shaw was busy early and often, scoring on the Wolverines' first drive. He scored two touchdowns before the half as East Clarendon built a solid lead. That played perfectly into Shaw's mindset of dominating up front.
"We just came out and had a better practice than we'd had the whole season. My mindset was just to come out and dominate and everyone doing their assignments," Shaw said. "After the first few carries when we scored on the first drive, that's when I knew it was going to be that game."
Shaw had the ball for most of the night. Three other rushers combined for 14 carries. Shaw even got to throw a pass, completing it for seven yards.
"I got a few breaks here and there, but other than that, it was just keep going at it," Shaw said of his approach to the heavy workload. "In the back of my mind, it was, 'We have to win this; you've got to get it.'"
Of course, you're only going to carry the ball 32 times if it's working. Shaw and the Wolverines saw some running lanes to take advantage of and were happy to oblige.
"I feel like when we went with the outside zone, it was working pretty well for us," Shaw said.
Cornelius runs a complicated offense, which meant a steep learning curve for the Wolverines. Having a consistent runner like Shaw made that curve a little smoother for EC.
"We want different styles of running backs in our offense. We want bruisers, one-cut guys, and then you've got your speed guys to the edge; Rod is a little bit of both," Cornelius said. "He can run you over, and he has enough elusiveness to get to the edge. It's a work in progress, and his hard work is paying off."
Shaw can feel the team starting to find their spots to shine in the system.
"I feel like we've got it down pat, and we're ready to go," he said.
Now that the Wolverines have that first win off their back, it's time to go out and add to the total. Their first challenge is a trip to Bamberg-Ehrhardt, the No. 6 team in 1A.
"It was big; everybody played their part. When we got the win, we celebrated afterwards because we knew we worked hard for it. Hopefully we can do it again and come back and work harder," Shaw said. "We just need to keep practicing hard, watching film and knowing what we need to do and what we need to work on."
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