tampabay.com

Riverview off and running

By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published October 7, 2005


RIVERVIEW - Dan O'Regan would love to tell you he saw this coming.

But the truth is, he didn't.

Given that his team was using two first-year starters at running back this fall, the Riverview coach wasn't sure what kind of rushing attack the Sharks would have. In fact, he was even a little worried.

"That was a big question mark," O'Regan said.

In Jahleel Addae and Antwain Powers, Riverview has found an answer that is better than anything it could have hoped for. After five games, the Sharks (4-1 entering tonight's matchup at Blake) are averaging more than 215 rushing yards a game.

Addae and Powers have accounted for 89.5 percent of that output. And on a combined 159 carries, they have lost one fumble.

"Our offense is based on running," O'Regan said. "And they've been great."

In the past, Riverview's wing-T formation has featured big, strong, powerful backs, the kind who prefer to run inside. But neither of these players fit that mold. Addae, a sophomore, is listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds. Powers, a junior, is 5-7, 160. Yet what the two lack in size they make up for with hustle, quickness and a little shake and bake.

"They make you miss," quarterback David Hike said. "If you don't catch them the first time, they're gone."

In many ways, Addae and Powers are similar. Both are quick and elusive scatbacks, who can run between the tackles or to the outside, each has big-play potential and each knows how to find the end zone (they have 12 touchdowns between them).

But they aren't completely alike.

Addae uses his vision to navigate through holes.

Powers uses a burst of speed.

"I'm faster," Powers noted. "But he's so smooth. He's great at spinning off tacklers. You can't key on just one of us. If you key on me, he'll burn you. And if you key on him, I will."

The two pretty much get the same amount of carries, which keeps both from having monster numbers. Neither, though, seems bothered by that. It helps that they're more than teammates, they're very good friends.

"You've got to be unselfish," Addae said. "Him being a good player makes me a better player."

Both have made Riverview a better team.