ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa | Josh Hunt feels there’s more in his tailback role than being a runner who finds the holes.
Hunt also takes pride in his blocking.
The 6-2, 185-pound Central Lyon/George-Little Rock senior notched his third consecutive 200-yard rushing performance with 204 and three touchdowns in Friday’s 53-19 Class 2A District 1 rout of Unity Christian.
But he threw his share of blocks as well.
“I’m physical out there and I want to make a big block,” said Hunt, the Sioux City Journal’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week, who enters Friday’s district game at Sioux Center with 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns for a 5-2 squad (4-1 in District 1).
“The guys block their butts off for me, so I have to make a good block for them,” added the 18-year old son of Scott and Deb Hunt of Rock Rapids. “The first guy that comes at me, I try to get good position on the outside or the inside. I just hit him and keep driving.”
“When you see Josh, you think he’s bigger than he actually is,” said CL/G-LR Coach Toby Lorenzen, who boasts a 141-52 record in 18 seasons at the Lyon County school.
“He’s almost like a fullback. He’s a rangy kid. He’s a very good blocker. We ask a lot of our running backs because in our offense we run the quarterback, the fullback and the power backs a lot. So, even as a tailback, Josh leads with his blocks. He’s as physical a blocker of any I have had.”
Hunt rushed for 1,390 yards a year ago as the Lions posted a 7-4 record and reached the second round of the 2A state playoffs. A school-record 338-yard effort in a 42-12 frolic over Sioux Center launched a stretch of six consecutive triple-digit showings to end his junior campaign.
Hunt has topped 100 yards five times as a senior. He gained 215 yards in a 34-14 loss to Sheldon on Sept. 21 and followed with a season-best 269 a week later in a 42-23 win over Estherville-Lincoln Central.
“He’s a hard-nosed runner with tailback speed, but he’s also a kid who runs hard between the open tackles,” said Lorenzen. “He has the strength, but the big thing about Josh is his mental toughness and his physical play. Tailbacks get a bad rep for being fast and not liking to take a hit. Josh loves the contact.”
“I’d rather hit someone than make a move,” said Hunt. “I run hard. Once the offensive line sets the hole and the fullback shoots in there, I’m in the secondary right away. The line does a heck of a job.”
Hunt said patience in waiting for the hole to develop has been the biggest thing he has improved upon in his two varsity seasons. He didn’t get his first start at tailback until Week 4 a year ago.
It was a sensational debut as he rushed for 185 yards in a 35-0 win over Estherville-Lincoln Central. Eventual 2A state runner-up Spirit Lake held him to 72 yards the following week, but Sioux Center was next.
Lorenzen also likes to establish 6-foot, 215-pound senior fullback Luke Grooters, who has 406 yards rushing with six TDs. And, senior quarterback Jesse Markus, who has 408 yards and three scores, rushed for 101 yards against Unity Christian.
Juniors Jesse Henrichs and Ethan Christians are also utilized on an offense that has amassed 2,430 yards this season.
Hunt’s last two games have been boosted by the return of CL/G-LR’s biggest offensive lineman, Alex Postma, a 6-2, 295-pound senior right tackle. Postma tore his ACL during the summer at a team camp held at the University of South Dakota, but has played the last two games while sharing time with 6-foot, 215-pound senior Ben Starr, the half-brother of USD linebacker Tyler Starr.
“(Postma) has had a heckuva last two games,” said Hunt. “He’s bounced back to play just as well as last year. For how big he is, he’s quick. He knows how to use his size.”
Trenton Enger, a 5-10, 225-pound senior, plays left tackle for the Lions. Other starting offensive linemen include senior left guard Adam Tecken (6-3, 205), junior center Ned Knobloch (5-11, 200) and junior right guard Andrew Metzger (6-2, 220).
Cory Eskra, Akron-Westfield…. The senior quarterback passed for 269 yards and one touchdown as the No. 4 (Class A) Westerners clipped Alta/Aurelia 34-18.
Zach Nieman, South O’Brien…. The junior running back rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolverines improved to 6-1 with a 38-0 win over North Union.
NOTE: Nominations (from coaches only) can be directed to the Journal’s sports department by calling 1-800-397-9820, extension 4206.