Remaley continues to be Nolehi's workhorse
He lines up in the backfield, looking straight ahead at his offensive line.
Across that line are defenders staring and pointing, shifting and inching forward in anticipation.
It doesn't matter that you can't recognize the No. 2 on his jersey anymore, having been covered by mud and grass stains. It also doesn't matter that he's already carried the ball 30 times and he's been knocked around for three-plus quarters.
It doesn't matter, because everybody on the field knows what's going to happen next.
Cody Remaley is going to get the ball.
For Northern Lehigh, last season's success wasn't too hard to figure out. The Bulldogs, who traditionally rely a quality tailback and a strong front to spearhead a solid ground game, took it a step further in 2009. In fact, they took it to a level that's rarely been reached in TIMES NEWS history.
Remaley was handed the ball 354 times, a figure that may just be the highest ever by an area player. Only one other time in the past 20 years has a TN back touched the ball 300 times (Lehighton's Robbie Frey carried 315 times in 2005).
In those 354 touches, Nolehi's workhorse gained 2,155 yards and scored 25 touchdowns. In doing so, he helped lead his team to a 10-3 record and a berth in the District 11 Class AA championship game.
"It felt pretty good that they had that much confidence and trust in me that if they gave me the ball, I'd get the job done," said Remaley, who will begin his senior season Friday needing 767 rushing yards to reach 5,000 in his career. "When my name is called to get the ball, I do what I have to do and hopefully I can be successful with that."
Remaley's name was called often in 2009, but never more so than down the stretch.
In the team's first five games, he averaged 20 attempts per contest - an impressive number considering the 5-9, 175 pounds he was listed at a year ago. In the final five games of the regular season, that total rose to 28.6 totes per game. Included in that was an amazing 49 carries against rival Northwestern.
But when it mattered most - in the postseason - the numbers ballooned even more. In the Bulldogs' three district playoff outings, Remaley touched the ball 40, 41 and 30 times.
"I never thought that ever (getting the ball 40 times)," he said. "I don't really feel it during a game because of the adrenaline but at the end of the night when I'm just laying there in bed ... I know it's going to be rough to walk the next morning. It's still not too bad, though. Some hits, if I go helmet-to-helmet with someone, are rough. But other than that I don't really feel them."
What's more impressive than Remaley's workload is the fact that he does it with a small frame.
"He's worked hard and has gotten bigger over the years," said Northern Lehigh offensive coordinator Steve Hluschak. "He's gotten a lot stronger and hasn't lost any speed. That's going to make him more durable. He's a marked man. People know we're going to give him the ball 20, 30 times a game and they're going to key on him.
"It's a tribute to him that he's worked hard to get in better shape and protect himself. He's going to protect himself from injuries by putting extra weight on."
Forced into the starting lineup as a freshman, Remaley made his presence felt immediately. At just 5-8, 157 he gained 701 yards on just 90 carries. If not for a sprained ankle that forced him out of the final two games, he may have set the Colonial League's record for rushing yards by a ninth grader (803).
In his sophomore season, Remaley topped 1,000 yards and 100 points while last year his numbers exploded.
His statistics, however, aren't the only thing that has changed.
"He's becoming more and more of a complete back each year," said head coach Joe Tout. "We wouldn't have played him that early (his freshman season) but we just didn't have an option. We had players injured. It's one of those situations, and you see it all the time in the NFL like a Tom Brady who comes out of nowhere because of an injury. Cody just rose to the occassion as a freshman. As a sophomore the kid learned how to get those blocks and how to get that many carries. Last year he became more of a complete back. And this year in what will be his finale we're asking him to block more."
"He's a lot more patient," added Hluschak. "He's learned to let things open up in front of him. He's become more of an inside runner where the first two years you'd get him on the toss outside and let him go where now we're running a lot more inside plays with him. This year because of the ability of our other backs, he's become more of a blocker. He's gotten much better at that and I attribute that to the weight room. He's added more weight and he's more physical as a blocker."
Now at 5-10, 185, he's starting to give out a little punishment instead of just receiving it.
"When I was a freshman and in my sophomore year I believe I was more of just an outside runner," said Remaley, who would like to major in mechanical engineering in college and play football. "I didn't really go up the middle too much. I wasn't real tough and heavy, heavy in like my running way. But now that I got a little bit more weight on me I feel as if I can run up the middle and I can bounce off tackles and run over people if I have to.
"I knew when I was a freshman that I wasn't that big. I needed to start putting on some weight so I put it in my head that it's time to start lifting and time to start gaining some weight. Last year it was a lot of chunking, that's all we did. I didn't have many long-distance runs. On very seldom occasions (did I have one). Most of the time it was chunk after chunk after chunk. And I like that, it's more fun."
Fun is also coaching a player that not only gives you Remaley's numbers, but also has his priorities in line.
"He's a quiet kid, but a tough kid. I think sometimes you overlook his toughness because you don't hear too much from him. He's a tough kid but I think the quality I like most about him is time and time again when he's interviewed he really believes about the team. The individual success is good but he doesn't care about that. He cares about one thing at the end of the day - whether we win or lose. And he really understands that. He understands it's not about Cody, it's about our team."
"He's very humble," said Hluschak. "I'm sure he gets a lot of pats on the back, and he should, but he's a team player. I've never heard him say I've got to get my 100 yards or I have to get my touchdowns. He focuses on the team and winning. He'll do whatever it takes to win."