GREENWOOD, Ind. – Remember those old Mars Blackmon commercials for Nike? Mars would say, “Nobody can cover my main man Michael Jordan. Nobody, nobody, nobody. Noooooobody. Impossible!”
OK, maybe I am just showing my age. Those were the days when we actually sat through commercials. It made us tougher.
I was reminded of ol’ Mars on Friday night, though, watching Class 6A top-ranked Warren Central roll over No. 6 Center Grove, 27-15, in the season opener. The anticipated top-10 showdown never really materialized on a wet, muggy night, as the Warriors jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened.
Now, I am not saying David Bell is Michael Jordan. But it seems highly unlikely that any one defender is going to be able to stop Bell, the Warriors’ all-everything senior receiver. Center Grove did a great job on him with senior cornerback Matt Pence covering him much of the night and a safety always ready to help. Bell finished with six catches for 73 yards, a decent opener but nothing like the otherworldly statistics we have seen from him before.
“Did he play tonight?” Warren Central coach Jayson West said with a smile.
But in this case, the numbers lie. The presence of the 6-2, 200-pound Bell means everything to Warren Central’s offense. He is going to put up numbers, without a doubt, but just being there is enough in some aspects. The Warriors have plenty of other weapons around Bell and senior quarterback Jayden George.
Did you see Romeir Elliott on Friday night? His peek-a-boo, here-one-second-gone-the-next 46-yard cutback run up the left sideline in the first half is one of the best highlights you will see all season. Elliott, a 5-7, 190-pound fireplug, likes to watch Barry Sanders clips, which makes perfect sense after watching him play. Elliott scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 45 yards in the second quarter and finished his night with 150 yards on 17 carries.
“He’s not normal, I’m just telling ya,” West said of the Southern Illinois-bound Elliott. “I’ve been doing this way too long and I’ve been very lucky my whole career to have great running backs. He’s undersized but I can see him doing big things at a high level in college and even beyond because he can do things most backs can’t do. He’s a gifted runner.”