BROOKSVILLE — Thanks in large part to its running game, Parrott Middle School football has been a perennial Hernando County champion.
This season, that attack was led by young players including D'Andre Goodson, with 12 touchdowns this season, and Jeremiah Jackson, with 18 career touchdowns.
In the past, the Leopards' rushing game was led by notable backs such as former Nature Coast Technical High School standout Rian Williams, current stars Nature Coast's Tevin Drake, Hernando High School's Alvin Delaine and up-and-coming Hernando tailback L'Tevin Williams.
The reason for this long line of formidable components in the Parrott backfield is simple: Dwayne Mobley.
The Parrott coach, in his 10th season at the helm, is a former standout running back himself. Mobley was a star for the University of Florida from 1993-96, and he passes his insights on the position onto his players.
"I used to be able to beat guys around the end. I tried to pull that at Florida and (former Gator defensive end) Kevin Carter grabbed me and pulled me down," Mobley said.
"(Former Gator coach Steve) Spurrier told me to run where the hole was at. That's one of the things I try to pass on to the kids."
Mobley, who moved to fullback as a Gator, has played with current and former NFL players such as Fred Taylor, Errict Rhett and Terry Jackson and knows a thing or two about handling the football.
The results have been obvious.
Not only are his former players going on to stardom at the prep level, but also his 54-11 lifetime mark as a coach speaks for itself.
Last Friday night, Hernando wrapped up its regular season with a game at Central High School. In 1991, Mobley, a former Hernando tailback, set the school record in a single game, rushing for 301 yards against Lecanto. The following season, a teammate of Mobley's, Jermaine Green, ran for 315 yards against Lecanto. That record has stood for 17 years.
Delaine finished his junior season with a bang. After chewing up 329 yards and scoring four touchdowns on only 23 carries, he broke the Hernando record with the Parrott coach sitting in the stands cheering on his former student.
"(The Hernando coaches) were talking about (Alvin) breaking one of my records," Mobley said. "Records are made to be broken."
The previous week Delaine and Drake faced each other as Hernando and Nature Coast sparred in a tiebreaker for the final remaining playoff berth this season. The senior Drake bested his cousin and former Parrott teammate Delaine in a 14-0 win.
After the game, the two reminisced about their past as teammates and futures thanks to the influence of Mobley.
"Mobley is one of the best coaches I've ever had," Delaine said. "He was a great running back himself, and he passed a lot of that on to me and (Tevin)."
Drake also remembered thinking about the impact playing for Mobley had on where he's gone in his four years since leaving the Parrott program. Drake says Mobley's coaching helped him envision a career at the high school level and beyond. Now the former Leopard is receiving legitimate interest from Division I college programs around the country.
"Mobley worked us hard and got us prepared for the next level," Drake said. "He did his thing toting that rock, and he was going to do whatever it took for us to get there, too."
In 2005, the combination of Drake and Delaine in the backfield led the Leopards to a middle school title. The following season, Delaine was the star with L'Tevin Williams, now his heir apparent at Hernando, learning the ropes. Williams helped win another county title for Parrott in 2007, and the running back line has continued since then.
Mobley takes a lot of pride in the accomplishments his backs have on the field for Parrott and what they do once they leave his program. Although he has the resumé to move his coaching career to the next level, he hasn't had the desire to do so, mostly because of the balance he can maintain between coaching and family. The past 10 seasons have been so satisfying for Mobley that he can't imagine doing anything else.
"One day, (I'll move on to high school) when I feel like it is right for me," Mobley said. "Right now, I'm content where I'm at."