If a team has hopes of knocking off top-ranked Many in the next two weeks and preventing the Tigers from claiming their first state football championship, it better be prepared to stop the run.
Many coach Jess Curtis proudly unleashes a “three-headed monster” in the Tigers’ backfield that has rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and scored almost 30 touchdowns on the season.
Junior Kelvin Gosey, who was injured most of the season, has returned to the lineup to give Curtis what he considers three starting running backs. Gosey has joined sophomores Kentrell Maxie and James Carhee to form a trio that the Tigers’ coach lauds for both their production and unselfishness.
“Teams have to pick their poison,” Curtis said.
Maxie, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, is the power to Many’s running attack. Carhee, at 5-5 and 165 pounds, is the smallest of the three runners and is known most for his vision. The 5-8, 185-pound Gosey uses his quickness to make defenders miss.
Through 13 games, as No. 1 Many (12-1) prepares to travel Friday night to face fourth-seeded Loreauville (12-1), Maxie and Carhee have posted nearly identical numbers. Carhee leads the Tigers with 1,162 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, while Maxie has 1,138 yards and 10 TDs. Throw in Gosey’s 593 yards and five scores and the “three-headed monster” has accounted for 2,893 yards and 27 touchdowns on the season.
“We’re very dangerous. … All three of us have just got something different — speed and power; more speed and more power,” Gosey said.
Of course, Curtis is quick to point out that the Tigers’ offense is very balanced, and the team’s ability to pass the football has aided its ability to run. Junior quarterback Xavier Dias has thrown for 925 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season, and Curtis praised his “three amigos” at receiver — seniors Josh Berry and Chris Hopkins and freshman Isaiah Smith.
The Tigers feature a stout offensive line that averages 280 pounds and is led by junior tackle Garrett Thomas, who boasts six high-level FBS scholarship offers and interest from both LSU and Alabama as well. Curtis said the Tigers’ offensive line “has been dynamite.”
Dias also complements the “three-headed monster” with design runs and an ability to scramble as a last resort if all of his receivers are covered. He’s rushed for 932 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season, and the Tigers are averaging more than 300 yards on the ground.
In Many’s quarterfinal win last week, Oak Grove concentrated on trying to limit Dias. He scored three touchdowns but only had 41 yards rushing in the game. That allowed the running backs, particularly Maxie and Carhee, to have what Curtis called “monster games.”
Maxie gained 153 yards on 22 carries, while Carhee added 132 yards on just seven carries, including a 53-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that iced the game in a 34-20 win.
“Every week it seems like a different guy goes off,” Curtis said.
The Tigers are a win away from just their second trip to the Superdome and two wins away from the school’s first title. If the “three-headed monster” continues going off, the Tigers will be hard to stop.