By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
For the past three years, when the Ellison Eagles needed a yard, there was little doubt who was getting the ball — David Cobb.
“We always looked to David first to make something happen,” said sophomore tailback Isiah Cowan. “We all basically put it on David’s shoulders to make something happen for us.”
And accounting for nearly 3,000 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns in three years on varsity, more times than not, Cobb got the job done.
But next fall, the 5-foot-10, 210-pound bruiser will be about 1,100 miles away taking snaps for the Minnesota Gophers.
It’s tailbacks like Cowan and diminutive Daryus Scott, who says he’s 5-3, 165 pounds on a good day, that will be counted on to fill the holes Cobb once ran through for first downs.
“We feel like we’re stronger at running back than we’ve ever been, because we have so many more (options) than what we’ve had in the past,” Ellison head coach Buddy McBryde said.
Sharing carries with Cowan and Scott this spring has been rising senior Sean McBryde, a converted safety, and Dionte Howard.
“We have a number of ‘backs, and we’re going to hit you with all of them,” Cowan said. “We all compliment each other in the running back group — we’re the stallions and we got to carry the ball. We’re the mail-toters, and basically everything is on us.”
Ellison coaches got a reassuring glimpse of what a Cobb-less future might look like courtesy of the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Cowan, who ran for 119 of his 299 yards on the season filling in for an injured Cobb at A&M Consolidated on Oct. 1.
“I was nervous, but (Cobb) was telling me to just keep my legs moving, just keep my legs moving,” Cowan recalled. “‘Don’t let nobody tackle you, just keep those legs moving.'”
Cowan, nicknamed “Boobie” for his similarities to James “Boobie” Miles of the book/movie “Friday Night Lights,” credited a lot of his development to Cobb taking him under his wing.
“He was inspiring — he inspired everyone,” Scott said of Cobb. “During halftime, before the game, before practice, he came out here and got everybody ready. On those days when you’re tired, David got you how here and was like, let’s go get ready for the game.”
With a dearth of depth this spring, all four tailbacks represent unique characteristics that could cause nightmares for District 12-5A defensive coordinators next season.
Both Cowan and Sean McBryde are tall and fast bruisers who are just as happy running through defenders as around them, while Scott is a speedy and stocky scat-back who will surprise unsuspecting defenders who look past him because of his height.
“We all have big shoes to fill with David and Devon (Hocutt) gone,” Cowan said. “Basically just have to do what David and our coaches have taught us — we’ve got to run hard and don’t let nobody tell us we can’t do it.
“That’s the big question this year, ‘What are we going to do without David and Devon?’ Well when we line up on Friday night, we’ll all see.”