Two Riverdale fullbacks have teamed up to replace the role of one this season.
Fullbacks Scottie Boykin and Peyton Phillips have split time at the position vacated by the graduated Adam Davenport, who rushed for more than 1,100 yards his final two seasons. And thus far this season, the duo have combined to exceed what the two-time all-state fullback accomplished through three games a year ago.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott said. “I knew they could play last year. But, they both played defense. I had a guy that didn’t play any defense, so I let him play there.
“They are both hard-nosed. (Phillips) may be a little quicker. I don’t really think one is more physical, because they are both real physical kids.”
Riverdale (3-0), which is ranked second in Class 6A in this week’s Associated Press statewide poll, hosts Maplewood (2-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Tomahawk Stadium. Maplewood is ranked fifth in the Class 4A poll and finished state runner-up in the classification in 2011.
Boykin and Phillips have combined to rush for 286 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns through three games. That’s 70 yards and one TD more than Davenport had produced at this point a year ago. Boykin has rushed 17 times for 132 yards and three touchdowns this season. Phillips has 13 carries for 154 yards.
“We have a pretty good rotation going,” Phillips said. “Because of that, it’s easier to produce the same type of numbers that (Davenport) did. We’re not as tired, and we can stay fresh.”
Both Boykin and Phillips start on defense at linebacker and are two of the top three tacklers on the team.
Because of their responsibilities on defense, the two share duties at fullback. They normally alternate series.
“I felt like (Phillips and I) had to step up this year and fill in the void left by Adam,” Boykin said. “He was such a good running back for us last year.
“Peyton and I start on defense as well. We just try to keep each other fresh (on offense). We try and score touchdowns, block and do other assignments needed at fullback.”
Both had a limited running role in 2011, relieving Davenport when needed. But both have shown the ability to run through the line of scrimmage and either find a hole to run through or bulldoze their way for yards. Boykin, who was a state runner-up wrestler in 2012, had two touchdown runs against Louisville Ballard in Week 1 at Louisville’s Papa John’s Stadium. He showed off that power in those two scores.
“I think as a whole, we may be better in the backfield than we were a year ago,” Aydelott said. “In some aspects we lack some. The thing that (graduated seniors) Marcelous (Odom) and Adam gave us was we were a bit smarter at times.
“I thought we’d be OK at the fullback spot with those two kids. The thing is they are equally good enough that they can spell each other. I don’t feel like I’m wearing them out for defense.”