Big-yardage backs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Four Shelby County running backs have eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark with

one week still remaining in high school football’s regular season.

At least two backs, Montevallo’s A.J. Ward and Chelsea’s Juan Grier appear poised to gain 1,500 yards on the ground by season’s end.

Ward, who leads Shelby County rushers with 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns, also piled up more than 1,000 yards last season as a sophomore.

&uot;He is a tremendous worker,&uot; said Montevallo coach Jim King. &uot;A.J.’s a great football player but what makes him special is he’s a great person. He is class.&uot;

Grier is not far behind with 1,393 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The senior tailback has stepped in to fill the position vacated by last year’s leading rusher, Grant Sullivan.

&uot;(Grier) has great quickness and he has super-great vision,&uot; said Chelsea coach Watt Parker. &uot;He finds holes as good as anybody.&uot;

Joining Ward and Grier in the 1,000-yard rushing club are Pelham’s E.J. O’Hara and Vincent’s Desmond Yowe.

O’Hara has 1,030 yards and eight touchdowns on 168 carries for the Panthers, while Yowe has 1,006 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.

Calera’s David Lacey rushed for 886 yards in nine games for the Eagles