Kiante Enis wants one more rep. Winchester football coach Mike Jones is calling for his sophomore player to come conduct an interview with a reporter visiting practice. But Enis wants to keep working.
Football hasn’t always been such a high priority for Enis. A basketball player, he didn’t play football last year as a freshman. He decided to play again this year as a sophomore. When a close friend was injured before the season, he questioned if he would play after all, worried he might be injured.
He showed up for practice anyway, and liked the way being on the football field felt. So he kept at it, and he’s been enjoying the results.
Enis has rushed for 635 yards for the Golden Falcons as a running back, and grabbed four interceptions as a free safety. Winchester has won four games in a row and is 4-2. It plays at 7:30 p.m. today at Jay County.
While he still loves basketball, Enis has found a passion for football as well.
“I’m loving it right now,” Enis said. “The coaches, and just everybody makes it real fun. And I come out here every day and get excited.”
Teammate Gatlin Kramer has seen Enis’ dedication as well. Kramer notices that Enis is lowering his shoulder more, attempting to avoid injuries and gain more yards. He’s also noticed Enis is more willing to run inside.
“I didn’t think he would be that physical,” Kramer said. “But as the season has gone on, he’s brought his ‘A’ game. You can tell his physicality is stepped up a lot.”
Kramer and Enis both play running back and defensive back, so they’re together a lot on the field. Kramer was an all-state defensive back last season. Kramer has 600 rushing yards this season.
“I look up to Gatlin,” Enis said. “When I first came and started playing, I forgot it all within a year, I didn’t know what I was doing. And then Gatlin, me and him play the same positions on both sides of the ball. So he pretty much helped me out.”
While he has returned to the sport this year (he played in middle school), Enis’ last name has a long history with the sport. Former Penn State and Chicago Bears running back Curtis Enis is a cousin, and Kiante Enis sometimes trained with his cousin this summer as he prepared for his return to football. Curtis Enis now coaches in Bradford, Ohio, and Kiante Enis found his cousin’s workouts to be intense.
While Kiante Enis plays his cousin’s old position, Jones said he does it differently. While Curtis Enis’ abilities relied on power, Jones said Kiante Enis is more of a speed-oriented running back.
After games, Kiante Enis often gets approached by people who ask if he is related to Curtis Enis. He said he enjoys the legacy.
“I like it, because it gives me something to look up to,” Enis said. “My grandpa (Dwight Enis) pushes me, because he wants me to get farther than what everybody else got. So that’s what I’m trying to do is get farther than everybody else. Me and Curtis laugh about it all the time, because I’ll tell him how much better I’m going to be than he is. He’ll just look at me and laugh at me, like blow me off a little bit.”