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ST. PETERSBURG — There’s this running back, with a bunch of college offers, who is tall, strong and blazingly fast.
Sometimes, he blows through open holes; other times, he shiftily makes his way from level to level, until he bursts into open field.
He won’t play running back in college, and quite frankly, you can’t help but wonder why.
Friday night, he carried his team to victory with another magnificent performance, even if the opposing coach knew quite well he had to be stopped.
And next week, his team will be playing in the state semifinals as underdogs. But because of his talents, you have to give them a chance.
Yep, this Rayshawn Jenkins fella sure has a lot in common with the more famous Nelson Agholor from the other side of the bridge.
Against Canterbury in Friday’s Class 2A region final, the Admiral Farragut senior was superb. He ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns (about the same numbers Berkeley Preps’ Agholor had in a win over Fort Meade.)
In two playoff games, Jenkins now has 561 yards on 29 carries, almost 20 yards a try.
He has scored six touchdowns. And the Blue Jackets are rolling.
“He’s the best I’ve ever coached,” Chris Miller said. “He’s a special player.”
In the span of one week back in mid September, Admiral Farragut lost Jenkins and running back Cortavious Givens to injuries, and a district game to Canterbury.
The Blue Jackets’ season and playoff prospects dangled by a thread.
“I was a little scared, I’m not gonna lie,” said Jenkins, who recently committed to Miami after initially choosing USF.
“I was a little scared …thinking our season was over.”
The Blue Jackets squeaked by Keswick Christian, then fell behind by three scores to Carrollwood Day School.
“At halftime of that game, Todd told everyone we weren’t going to lose another game,” Miller said.
Macon made sure they didn’t. He carried the Blue Jackets on his back, until Jenkins could make it back.
“We knew we couldn’t lose another game and we knew we had to stick together,” said Macon, who ran for 130 yards in the rematch with Canterbury.
Jenkins’ return changed everything for Admiral Farragut. No more close calls. No more holes in the offense. A stronger defense.
And the offensive line deserves a big dose of credit as well. In the past month, Jenkins wasn’t the only one finding his groove — so were A.J. Stanford, Brendon Staas, Jonathan Jun, Steven Jones and Dylan Richards.
“The offensive line was the story tonight,” said Miller, and certainly 353 yards Friday and 950 in two playoff games backs that up.
“They got their hats on the other guys and just moved them out of the way for us,” said Jenkins. “They created lanes and we did the rest.”
The great thing about Jenkins, like with Agholor, is the hole doesn’t have to be that gaping for either back to get through, though the holes seemed awfully big at times Friday night.
The Blue Jackets, winners of nine straight, played with confidence, with a purpose and with, well, Jenkins. And that was the difference between a win and that 12-10 loss back in September.
“He was the No. 1 threat; we knew Admiral Farragut goes as he goes,” Canterbury coach Bill Jones said. “I would say Rayshawn Jenkins made a difference tonight.”
There’s this running back, with a bunch of college offers, who is tall, strong and blazingly fast. And next week, his team will be playing in the state semifinals as underdogs. But because of his talents, you have to give them a chance.