Coming off six straight years of consecutive league losses in the Blanchard Valley Conference, Vanlue knew it was always going to need a heroic performance to break the streak.
Is 59 carries heroic enough for you?
That was the night put in by Vanlue senior running back A.J. Reed, who almost singlehandedly piloted the Wildcats’ way to a 30-26 victory against Arcadia. In all, Vanlue ran the ball 71 times for 327 yards, an average of more than 4.6 yards per carry. Reed’s 59 carries covered a total of 296 yards, breaking the 5 yard-per-carry mark. Vanlue handed the ball to Reed 24 times in the fourth quarter alone, with the 59 carries landing as the fourth most in a high school contest since 1986.
“This is the best feeling ever. I just wanted to do it for my team. … It wasn’t just me, it was my team,” Reed told The Courier, then hugged Vanlue coach Jeremy Kloepfer. “And this big guy. He does a lot for us.”
Kloepfer told The Chronicle he had no idea Reed had carried the ball as often as he had. But even if he had, that likely wouldn’t have kept from continuing to put the ball in Reed’s hands.
“I didn’t know how much we gave it to him, all I know is we were gaining yards when we did give it to him. We weren’t going to go away from that,” Kloepfer told The Chronicle.
They never did, and they escaped with a are “W” as a result.