• July 25, 2014

Jefferson nudging himself among area's all-time best RBs

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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 4:47 pm, Tue Sep 18, 2012.

Two thousand, four hundred and sixty one.

That’s a big number that hasn’t been seen around Central Texas in a while.

Few have even been in the same range of it.

But Shoemaker running back Johnny Jefferson, if he keeps it up, will finish the season in rare company, and become perhaps one of the greatest running backs in KISD history.

So far this season, the senior Baylor commit has run for 739 yards in only three games, including back-to-back 300 yard games. He had the second highest game in KISD history with 314 yards on 40 carries against Round Rock Stony Point on Thursday, even though his Grey Wolves managed to lose the game 23-20.

Of course, he scored all three touchdowns for Shoemaker, which is still struggling to close out games.

But not because of Jefferson, who is on pace to eclipse 2,000 yards this season with ease.

Regardless of the number of wins the Grey Wolves amass, and it may not be more than two or three, Jefferson is on pace to have a season for the ages.

He even has an outside shot at the single-season rushing record (2,484 yards), set by Ellison great David Winbush in 1996 when the Eagles reached the state semifinals.

After all, he already has the single-game record, which had belonged to Killeen running back Travis Davis, who ran for 317 yards against Marble Fallls in 2002. In 1997 Ellison running back Reggie Duncan ran for 2,331 yards, 21 touchdowns and had a 311-yard game against Round Rock Westwood in a first-round playoff game.

That season, Duncan also had two 298-yard games and a 304-yard game before breaking the previous record of 308 set by Killeen’s John Allen Cook in 1958 against Stephenville.

There have been others in the area that had 2,000-yard seasons, like Jefferson seems destined to obtain through his own sheer will to make Shoemaker a winner.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Ramonce Taylor rushed for 2,371 yards (school record) for Belton in 2003 and also set school records for most rushing yards in a game (347 yards against Corpus Christi King). Vontez Duff rushed for 2,256 yards and scored 26 touchdowns as a junior at Copperas Cove in 1998.

In 2001, Taurean Henderson rushed for 2,953 yards and 32 touchdowns on 386 carries his senior year, helping lead Gatesville to the Class 3A state championship. For his high school career, he rushed for 6,337 yards and had 76 touchdowns.

Of course, they all had a few more games to pad their rushing total than Jefferson will ever have.

The grey-blue blur won’t get the luxury of extra games, not in high school at least. He won’t get to play for a state title this season.

Shoemaker probably won’t even make the playoffs.

All those other running backs did at one point in their careers. Winbush, in his record-setting campaign, ran 1,902 yards in the regular season. The other 582 yards came in the playoffs.

Instead of an extra three or four games, Jefferson will have suffered through a 31-game losing streak.

Sure, he will have become the foundation for the future of the Grey Wolves football program.

But he won’t even have played more than 10 games in a season.

There are some things Jefferson just can’t control. He is doing everything it takes to win games. He just hasn’t gotten the help he needs to win a few.

Because of that, he might not even hit the record books for single-season rushing yards. He might not go down as the greatest KISD running back of all time.

That is disappointing, I am sure, for him and to the Grey Wolves’ fans.

But it is not too tragic.

Instead, Jefferson will have to settle for bowl games at Baylor.

And maybe one day, he will have a true playoff game — one that takes place on a Sunday.

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