MURFREESBORO — Lazarius Patterson has fewer touches than any other starting running back among Rutherford County’s seven Class 5A and 6A football teams through seven games this season.
However, the Oakland High junior made the most of his opportunities in the Patriots’ 49-6 rout of Haywood on Friday night. Patterson had four total touchdowns in the game, including three on the ground.
Patterson has been named The Daily News Journal’s Football Player of the Week.
“Our offense has got a lot of different people that can make plays on different nights,” Oakland coach Kevin Creasy said. “Some guys kind of pigeonhole what they do by handing it to the same dude every play.
“We think it plays to our advantage to have more than one guy that can carry the ball, to have more than one guy to catch the ball. It makes it tough on guys to stop us.”
Oakland (6-1 overall, 4-0 in Region 2-6A), ranked second in the Associated Press’ Class 6A statewide poll, hosts Riverdale (5-2, 3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in the Battle of the ‘Boro. Oakland has won six straight games. Riverdale has won four straight.
Patterson finished with 89 yards on 14 carries against the Tomcats. He scored on the ground on touchdown runs of 7, 17 and 8 in the first half to give Oakland a 21-0 lead with 5:45 left in the first half. He then added his final score on an 8-yard TD reception from Brendan Matthews with 1:31 remaining in the half.
Patterson has 69 carries for 460 yards this season and eight rushing touchdowns. He also has three catches for 27 yards.
“He’s a threat running the ball, catching the ball, and he’s a really good blocker when he doesn’t have the ball,” Creasy said. “He’s just one of those guys you love to see have success because he comes to work every day. He never complains. He is a very unselfish player, a hard worker and a great kid to be around.
“You love to see those kids do well.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
DNJ Football Players of the Week
Week 1: Tanner Green, MTCS
Week 2: Taeler Dowdy, Blackman
Week 3: JaCoby Stevens, Oakland
Week 4: Tyler Griffin, Eagleville
Week 5: Ikenna Okeke, Smyrna
Week 6: Maleik Gray, La Vergne
Week 7: Brandon Bea, Riverdale
Week 8: Lazarius Patterson, Oakland
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Riverdale at Oakland*
Blackman at Siegel**
Cookeville at Smyrna
Stewarts Creek at Shelbyville
Eagleville at Jackson Co.
La Vergne at Franklin Co.
Sequatchie Co. at Cannon Co.***
Trousdale Co. at MTCS
*WGNS (1450-AM, 100.5-FM, 101.9-FM)
**WUXP-30 (Ch. 14)
***WBRY (1540-AM, 96.7-FM)