There was no work-up. Daniel McCants didn’t need time to adjust to varsity football.
Last year, he just needed the opportunity.
McCants led the Killeen Kangaroos with 321 rushing yards and two touchdowns in three playoff games last year as a sophomore.
That was just the beginning.
“You knew he was a talented young running back, but we didn’t know how talented until we could get him against other varsity players,” said Killeen coach Sam Jones. “He’s been able to maintain what he was able to do there (on JV) and carry it to another level.”
Now a junior, McCants leads District 8-5A with 1,320 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for 272 yards and three scores last week to lead Killeen to a 45-39 win over Belton and earn his first KDHPressbox.com Player of the Week award.
McCants received 795 votes (42.6 percent) to win his first playoff of the week accolade, being nominated for the award for the fourth time in his short, but dazzling time on varsity.
“I knew it was the same kind of football as JV, it’s just they were a little bigger, a little faster and more disciplined,” McCants said. “(I’ve needed) to be patient and follow my O-line, just trust the O-line and how they’re going to block it.”
McCants has been nominated for the award three times this season, finishing second once, third once and fourth once. He was also nominated once last year. It’s about the only thing McCants hasn’t been able to run away with since his varsity debut last November.
In 11 games, McCants has eight 100-yard rushing games, including three 200-yard performances in the last four weeks against District 8-5A’s first- , second- and fourth-ranked defenses.
“I’ve worked on my footwork and worked on getting low when I’m coming through the hole instead of standing straight up,” McCants said of his recent adjustments.
Salado junior running back Chase Crenwelge finished second with 567 votes after he ran for 187 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the Eagles’ 50-10 win over Little River-Academy.
Copperas Cove senior running back Daniel Ruff, who carried the ball 26 times for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldawgs’ 34-9 win over Ellison, finished third.
Harker Heights junior running back Marcus Anderson II finished fourth after his 183-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Knights’ 42 7 upset of Temple.