There’s this little chip that still hasn’t come off his shoulder.
It’s been there since late November, the result of a concussion that left him sidelined for much of his final game.
Lamont Harris was in a tight battle for the South Jersey rushing title with Jahmire Van Kline of Bordentown. But after taking a knee to the head in the first quarter against Cedar Creek, it was pretty much a done deal.
That’s why Wednesday’s Adam Taliaferro All-Star Classic has become an important game for the St. Augustine Prep product. It’s an opportunity to showcase his talents one final time against the region’s top recent graduates.
“I’m going to come in and play a little angry,” said Harris, who will play for the Blue all-stars in the showdown at Rowan University. “I want to prove that I’m the best running back in South Jersey, and I say that respectfully. I know there are other good running backs, but I want to leave as the best.”
Harris would carry the ball just six times for 27 yards against Cedar Creek, the only game where he failed to score or rush for at least 100 yards.
Headed to Widener University, where he plans to major in nursing, Harris rushed for 1,955 yards last season and 26 of his 27 total touchdowns. He had four games of at least 240 yards, going for a season-high 342 yards on 28 carries against Vineland.
Harris rushed for 259 yards and a season-high six TDs in a win over Ocean City and picked up 240 yards and five scores against Absegami.
In a Non-Public Group 4 opening-round playoff game against Don Bosco Prep, he had 176 yards and a TD on a season-high 41 carries.
“I guess you can look at this as another stepping stone for college ball,” Harris said. “I’m going to give all I have against the best in South Jersey. It’s going to be fun.
“This is my last game, so I can’t end it like I did at Cedar Creek.”
Harris wants to be remembered as a hard runner and team player. He had high expectations heading into his final high school season, wanting to solidify a scholarship at the highest level.
It didn’t work out exactly as planned, but he remains focused and energized.
“I definitely wanted to play Division I football,” he said. “I didn’t get that opportunity and I was a little upset about it, but now I’m embracing it. Widener is a good school and plays a high level of Division III football. I’m lucky to be in the position I am to play football.
“Being selected as an all-star tells me they believed I’m one of the best. I’ll get a chance to represent myself, my team. I’ll represent St. Augustine against the best players in South Jersey, so it’s definitely an honor.”
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Taliaferro All-Star Game
When: 7 p.m., Wednesday
Where: Rowan University
Tickets: $10, all proceeds go to the Adam Taliaferro Foundation