Edwards 'carries' JT to victory
Jim Thorpe's Shane Edwards flashed a huge smile on his face.
And no, it didn't come after being told he had just run 37 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns to help his Olympians defeat Shenandoah Valley last week.
The big grin actually came well before the contest when he had a conversation with his head coach.
"With the injuries we had, we went to Shane and told him he was going to be carrying the ball a lot this week," said Thorpe mentor Mark Rosenberger. "We asked him if he could carry the ball 40 times. He just got a huge smile across his face. And then he said, 'You bet, coach.'
"He darn near got close to (40). And he didn't wear down at all. I thought he was as strong in the fourth quarter as he was in the first and second."
That workhorse effort on a wet and muddy playing surface helped the Olympians improve to 4-1 on the season and also earned Edwards the TIMES NEWS Player of the Week.
"It wasn't that hard for me to do with the line that I have," said Edwards, who currently leads the area in rushing attempts with 128. "They opened up big holes for me so I didn't have to cut side-to-side with the conditions. It was just a straight run for me.
"I couldn't cut that well with the conditions but if I could cut the defenders couldn't cut with me. I didn't feel it that much either. I didn't think I was anywhere near that many carries. I was surprised."
Rosenberger and his staff aren't surprised with the success their feature back has had this season. After all, Edwards closed the 2009 campaign with back-to-back 100-yard games.
"We thought with the way he finished last year, we felt we had an experienced back coming back and that he was just going to get better," said Rosenberger. "So we did expect a lot from him this year and thankfully he's carried us on his back for a couple of games. Hopefully he can continue to do that for us this year.
"It was an impressive performance. The great thing for us is he's still getting better each and every day. The sky's the limit for the next five weeks of the season."
Edwards saw a greater workload because of injuries to starting quarterback Terry Moll and backfield mate PJ Johnson. The two are expected back this week, so the carries will probably drop.
But if the situation arises for him to do the bulk of the running again, he'll defintely be up to the task.
"He's a big, strong kid," said Rosenberger. "He's 198-200 pounds. There's no fat on him. He's all muscle. The training he put in over the last several years in the weight room is paying off now.
"We don't have any concerns with him wearing down. He's in tip-top shape physically ... I don't expect him to carry the ball that many times again this year, but if he's asked to do it, he'll do it with a smile that's for sure."
All the Olympians will continue to be smiling if they keep winning.
"This is exciting especially with how we started last year," said Edwards. "We wanted to start strong and keep it that way.
"I'm sure we'll balance things out more with the guys coming back. It doesn't matter how many times I carry the ball, though, as long as we keep doing well as a team."