MOUNT PLEASANT, N.C. — Mount Pleasant High School running back Cody Reece is having a season to remember. The junior has rushed for 1600 yards and 20 touchdowns in just nine games. When you hear the Mount Pleasant score announced, the first thing many people check is the stat sheet to see the mind-boggling number the Tigers’ tailback racked up on the field.
But for Reece, it’s not about individual accomplishments. Cody would be the first to tell you that without his offensive line working hard for him, he wouldn’t have such incredible stats. I had the opportunity to drop in at a Mount Pleasant practice Monday, and I spoke with Cody and two of his offensive linemen about their season thus far.
When asked if the numbers and eye-popping stats creep into his mind, Reece was quick to point out it doesn’t even sneak into his mind.
“We just worry about getting the win first. We don’t even worry about the stats, we just go out there and play.”
Despite scoring 42 points last week, the Tigers’ offensive line felt like they left a lot on the field against Central Academy. Junior offensive lineman Zach Mayo gave Central some praise, but also feels like Mount Pleasant didn’t give their best effort last week.
“They have a good coaching staff, they’re really smart. They overloaded to the strong side, which made it rough for us. We just weren’t as physical as we need to be. You have to establish a dominance at the line and we didn’t do that.”
Head coach Michael Johns knows his team is working hard. The Tigers are averaging nearly 300 yards per game on the ground, and the schedule definitely plays a role in that. Despite being a 2A school, Mount Pleasant opened the season with six games against 3A or 4A opponents. The Tigers went 4-2, and were within 12 points of opening the season 6-0.
The Tigers went toe-to-toe with Central Cabarrus on opening night before falling 40-34, and fought Concord to a 20-14 defeat at home. Concord remains one of the favorites to win the 3A state championship following a runner-up finish in 2013.
The players at Mount Pleasant embrace the opportunity to play with the bigger schools in the area, especially when they’re able to prove they can win against the competition.
“We like the challenge of playing the bigger schools, like Concord, Robinson, and Central [Cabarrus],” said Mayo.
Mount Pleasant definitely took advantage of the opportunity offensively, with Reece totaling over 1100 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The Tigers’ defense has been strong as well, limiting opponents to just over 17 points per game on the season.
Senior offensive tackle Austin Moore, affectionately known as “Tree” was vocal about playing with a tight-knit group of players who know they have each other’s back on the field.
“It feels really good playing with these guys, just taking it one week at a time.”
The Tigers visit Parkwood on Friday before hosting West Stanly on Senior Night. Mount Pleasant is currently 7-2 overall and are 4-1 in Rocky River play. A victory at Parkwood will guarantee the Tigers a conference championship, regardless of what happens in the season finale.