Moving up the list: Chris Person is seventh on all-time career rushing list
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 11, 2005 - After going to the air in the first half of Friday's win over Paris, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats turned to its infantry to take control of the second half.

Mission accomplished.

Senior running back Chris Person finished with 152 yards on 22 carries, with 114 of those yards coming in the final two quarters when Sulphur Springs expanded its one touchdown lead to a 49-33 victory.

Person, who had just one minus carry in his 22 totes, moved up in the top 10 of career rushers in SSHS history with effort. He now has 1,735 yards on 252 carries and 14 touchdowns, which is good enough for seventh on the all-time career list.

This season, he has 584 yards on 99 carries. Last Friday was his best total of the season.

"He had an outstanding game. What people don't realize is how good of a week of practice he had," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "I think last week was a good example of when you practice well, you play well.

"I told the team on Saturday that the reason he played so well is that he had a great week of practice and a great attitude."

While junior quarterback Logan Turner threw a school record six TD passes, and caught another from senior Josh Riley, Coach Turner was quick to point to the success of the running game as a reason the Wildcats won the District 12-4A opener.

"You can throw for six touchdowns or seven touchdowns, but it's set up by how well you do running the ball," he said following the game. "If you can't run the ball, you're going to have a hard time winning."

The figures bear him out. Person has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight games over the last two seasons. The Wildcats have won all eight, including three this year.

Lining up beside the quarterback in the shotgun formation, Person is able to use his vision to run behind the blocks of his offensive linemen. If the hole isn't where it should be, he goes to where the opening is.

"Chris is gifted with a lot of talent, but I think the biggest thing that makes him a good running back is his vision," Turner said. "He makes a lot of cuts that you can't teach. He's got good speed and good balance. 

"He's not really an I-back or a fullback - he's a one-back. He's perfect for a team that runs a one-back zone because he sees the field. He may take it all the way outside, or he may cut it all the way to the backside. That's what makes him so dangerous."

In addition to his running ability, Person has caught 13 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. He is also averaging 25.8 yards per kickoff return. He's asked to do other things in the offense as well.

"He's an outstanding blocker. In our protection, he's asked to make a read, and a lot of times, the running back has double reads," Turner explained. "He's really good at that. He'll dump you on your head. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there."

Barring injury, Person will move up in the Top 10 of SSHS career rushers. He's just four yards behind Marvin Dial and 124 behind Brian Maynard's total of 1,859. If he surpasses that, he would be in the Top 5 behind only Torio Kelly's unmatchable total of 3,565 yards, James Henley's 2,607, Barry Pryor's 2,380 and Eric Thurman's 2,285.

Person already holds the school record for the longest run from scrimmage, 97 yards against Forney in 2004, and the highest per-carry average in a season (7.5 last year). He currently is averaging 6.9 yards per carry in his career, which would also be a school record.

Notes: Coach Turner explained that he did not decline the 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty that was initially assessed Paris after Sulphur Springs' first touchdown. The penalty was not enforceable on the kickoff, so the Wildcats would have taken Spenser Daniel's PAT off the board if they would have accepted the penalty.

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