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Beaufort High hopes to reload at running back

  • Beaufort Today file photo Kyleik Middleton rushes for a 28-yard gain against Colleton County in November.

With summer practice starting up, Beaufort High is set to break in a new crop of running backs to replace North-South all-stars Omar Cummings and Wyatt Sherpensky.

The seniors accounted for 61 percent of Beaufort’s 4,799 yards of total offense last season.

“I’d love to have two 1,000-yard rushers every year, but I’d be naïve to expect that every year,” running backs coach Logan Powell said.

“When we sat down and talked about what we wanted the offense to be, we knew that we had those two guys coming back. So the strategy was get them the ball in the best way possible. And the easiest way to do that was hand it off to them.”

Though Cummings and Sherpensky will be gone this fall, the strategy might be similar.

Kyleik Middleton entering his senior season and junior Logan Adkins was productive late in games last season.

“Speed and strength” were the words Powell used to describe Middleton.

“He’s probably the strongest of the group,” he said. “Definitely the fastest of the group. Omar had a little more shiftiness, but I actually Kyleik is faster. I don’t see Kyleik getting run down if he breaks away.”

Middleton said he is working on becoming more of a complete back, focusing on vision and blocking. Becoming a leader will also be key, but Middleton said that was made easier by the examples set by last year’s seniors.

“I learned from those guys to step into the role and the task at hand,” he said. “They taught me to go after it and be a leader in my own type of way.

“Usually I was the quiet one, but over the course of the season they broke me out of that little shell. Usually I’m the lead by example type, but being around those guys, it’s hard to be quiet.”

Middleton was third in rushing last year with 753 yards on 116 carries.

Adkins recorded 223 yards on 36 carries. Powell is excited about doing a bit more with the junior this season.

“Logan is tough and he’s versatile,” Powell said. “He can play any of the positions we throw at him. And that’s what I like about him. He can play our H-back, he can play slot and he can play in the backfield. And he’s a tough kid who knows that. He’s not the strongest or the fastest, but he can do what we ask.”

“I feel like I can play any position well and it doesn’t matter where, but if I could choose I guess I’d like to be in the backfield,” Adkins said.

Beaufort’s third option is rising junior Traeshawn Heyward, who will be in his first season with the varsity. Heyward played varsity basketball last season.

Heyward “is probably the quickest and he has the best hands from what I’ve seen,” Powell said. “He would fit the Wyatt role when we split him out. Trae is going to be a guy that we try to get the ball in open space.”

Heyward said his biggest goal is to bulk up.

“Over the summer, I’m going to be hitting the weight room — all different workouts,” he said.