JAKE HARVEY

Jake Harvey scores on a touchdown run Sept. 23 against St. Dominic Savio.

Salado head coach Alan Haire is a strict believer in repetition.

If something works, you keep doing it.

In his long high school coaching career, Haire has utilized a run-first philosophy.

And his teams have won a lot of football games.

So this season, his first as head coach at Salado, Haire had his players learn the run-heavy Slot-T.

“I love this offense,” said Salado senior running back Jake Harvey. “It’s a lot better than anything we were doing before coach Haire got here.”

And there’s something else Haire and the Eagles keep repeating: handoffs to Jake Harvey.

“Our system completely fits Jake’s talents,” Haire said. “He’s a speedy guy. He’s a team guy. He’ll never blame an offensive lineman for any mistake. Our guys love blocking for him. Jake is getting the job done for us.”

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Harvey is averaging over 10 yards per carry this season, with six rushing scores.

Harvey has speed, slick moves and keeps his balance.

He has thoroughly impressed the boss.

“Jake plays very hard,” Haire said. “He’s a super-tough kid. He gets after it.”

And the boss has impressed the running back.

“I love the way he coaches,” Harvey said. “He’s tough on me at practices but I know why — it helps our team.

“And just look how far Coach has taken our team this season.”

Salado was 1-20 the previous two years before Haire arrived.

Now, the Eagles are 1-1 in District 9-4A, Division II, 4-3 overall.

On Friday, Salado travels to face Mexia (2-5, 0-2). Should the Eagles prevail, while it’s not a mathematical certainty, they’re probably in the postseason derby.

Haire expects big things from his Eagles on Friday — and Harvey.

“We need a big game from Jake,” Haire said. “Mexia has athletic kids on their defense. We need to keep making first downs and Jake can help us get them.”

Harvey is excited.

“I’m glad Coach is counting on me Friday,” he said. “It means a lot to me that he has confidence in me.

“Before this season started, I never could have dreamt that we’d be in this good of a position. But we’ve gotten great blocking up front: (guard) Jonah Bassa and (center) Willy Whigham have really stepped things up. And our quarterback (Hayden Haire) runs this offense so well.

“We had a very good week of practice — and I feel we’re ready to play Mexia.”

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com

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