Having the right mindset can make all the difference in the world.
Asked to describe his, St. Augustine Prep running back Kyle Dobbins had no hesitation in his voice.
“I have the mentality that I’m going to score every time,” he said with the confidence of a senior. “When I get the ball, I have touchdown in my mind. I’m going to attack the hole and score.”
A sophomore, Dobbins has established himself as a player to watch for the next two seasons. Not only does he go into the Hermits’ Thanksgiving Day game against Cedar Creek with 18 touchdowns, but he’ll look to add to his Cape-Atlantic League record for single-season rushing yards by a sophomore.
Dobbins is among South Jersey leaders with 1,415 yards on 157 carries.
“He has natural ability,” coach Mark Reardon said. “There’s not a lot of coaching in terms of once he gets to the line of scrimmage and what to do with the football.
“He’s physical and has great vision. Once he get in the open field, he’s a handful. He’s a big play waiting to happen. Once he gets to the second level of the defense, he has such tremendous explosiveness and speed. You figure every play is going to be a big play.”
Dobbins has rushed for at least 100 yards in eight of the team’s nine games. He collected a career-high 232 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries against Atlantic City and matched his four-TD performance when he ran for 185 yards against Absegami.
“You don’t think a sophomore would have gaudy stats. But if you give him the ball enough and have enough chances, a pretty good player can do this type of thing,” Reardon added.
Dobbins got his feet wet last season, playing behind then-senior Lamont Harris and rushing for 638 yards. He has 28 career touchdowns.
“I’m a speedy guy, not really shifty,” said the 5-foot-10, 174-pounder. “Everyone says I look slow when I hit my stride, but I’m pretty fast and strong for my weight.
“I like getting the ball in my hands, but without the offensive linemen none of this would have even been possible for me. Thank God for the O-line and the coaches.”
Dobbins knew he would be St. Augustine’s primary ball carrier entering the season. With a taste of what varsity football was all about as a newcomer, he put in the time and effort to make sure he would be ready to play a leading role.
In the season opener against rival St. Joseph, Dobbins rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in a 33-14 victory. The performance set the tone not only for himself but for the Hermits as they went on to become the No. 1 team in the Courier-Post/S.J. Gridiron Mean 15 a few weeks later.
“Obviously he’s had a tremendous year,” Reardon said. “He worked real hard in the weight room during the offseason. He put on some weight and that helped contribute to his skill set.
“The sky is the limit as he develops and matures as a person. Even if he just led by example that would probably be good enough. We expect great things from him. He’ll get 10 pounds heavier and be more physical than he is now. He’s really just scratched the surface.”
Dobbins is already looking to the future.
“I’m going to work in the offseason so that next year I can get bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “I’m going to keep working and help my team get better because we’re trying to win a championship.
“I’ve got a good deal of experience on the varsity level and I know what’s coming; I know what I need to do. It was a pretty good year, a phenomenal season, but I have to get better every year.”
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
Don’t miss a thing
Download our apps and get alerts for local news, crime, weather, traffic and more. Search “Courier-Post” in the app store or use these links from your device: iPhone app | Android app | iPad app. And be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook!