JT's man on the run
Rod Heckman/TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe's Shane Edwards, left, is congratulated by head coach Mark Rosenberger after being named TIMES NEWS Football Player of the Week. Edwards carried 27 times for 117 yards and threetouchdowns last Friday in a 48-27 win over Lehighton.
Over the last few weeks of the season, Jim Thorpe made some adjustments to its offense - especially in its running game.
And because of those switches, Shane Edwards saw his role change.
Used to getting the ball a handful of times a game, the Olympian junior instead became a workhorse.
Based upon the results, the move was quite favorable for both Thorpe and Edwards.
Against Marian in Week 9, Edwards carried 27 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns as his team rallied for a win. Last Friday against Lehighton, he ran the ball 27 times again for 117 yards and another three scores as the Olympians closed their season with another victory.
"What we've done over the last few weeks is become more of a downhill running team, and Shane has provided that for us," said JT head coach Mark Rosenberger. "Our offensive line did an outstanding job of creating holes but Shane has the ability of once he gets in there he can get those extra two or three yards between the tackles which is crucial for a high school running back. He's been a big part of why we've turned it around the last two weeks here offensively.
"Shane's really developed. We saw something in him last year at the JV games. He ran extremely well and opened our eyes up. This year he's been a constant for us running the football. His numbers weren't real big early in the season, but he was only getting 10 or so carries. The last two weeks he has emerged as our go-to running back. When we need a big first down, he can put his head down and get us that first down. But he's also capable of giving us some big runs."
Edwards, who was named the final TIMES NEWS Player of the Week this season for his effort against the Indians, is just happy to be contributing but doesn't mind the extra playing time.
"We tend to run the ball more now," said Edwards, who only had 186 yards on 53 carries during the first eight weeks of the season. "The line did a great job blocking and we just all worked well together. We need to play smashmouth football more. That's been our gameplan. We thought we might be able to do that against Lehighton.
"I didn't play a lot in the beginning of the season. We had a quick guy in the backfield and they moved him around and put me at running back. They split him out and I got to run more."
Edwards, at 5-9 and 175 pounds, isn't the biggest guy on the field but he enjoys pounding into the line.
In fact, the Olympians count on him at the goal line. Against the Indians, his TDs came from the one, four, and eight-yard lines.
"I like being on the goal line and punching it in," said Edwards. "I enjoy running the ball and running it inside. I like the contact and I also gave out a few hits too."
"He's a fast kid, but he's more of a between the tackles type of runner," said Rosenberger. "The last few weeks we've called his number over 20 times a game and he's done a great job.
"He's going to get those tough three yards and those one-yard touchdowns. And they count as much as a 70-yard one. It's very easy for us to call upon on him and say it's third-and-four and we've got to get the first down. That let's us move the chains, reestablish a 1st-and-10 again and he's able to do that."
Rosenberger is hopeful he'll be doing that again in the future.
"The experience he's gained and the confidence will hopefully carry over into next year," he said. "It's nice knowing we'll have someone back who has that kind of experience."