CORNELIUS – Jarrett Nagy rushed for 3,756 yards and 54 touchdowns the last three years as Hough High’s workhorse running back, so when he graduated in May and became a Presbyterian College linebacker, head coach Matt Jenkins and his staff knew that developing a new running game would be critical for any success found in 2018.
The Huskies, 4-0 after a 38-6 win over Ardrey Kell Sept. 12, have adjusted by relying on the duo of junior Kwesi Kyei-Fordjour and sophomore Evan Pryor, to get the job done. They offer different skill sets, and that’s just fine with Jenkins, whose team opens I-Meck 4A Conference play Friday, Sept. 21, at Hopewell.
“They complement each other really, really well, and they work well together,” Jenkins said following the home win over Ardrey Kell. “They’re friends and get along really well. It’s fun to watch their dynamic. They root for each other.”
Kyei-Fordjour returns after rushing for 303 yards and three scores behind Nagy a year ago. He’s a straight-ahead runner, and if the line has opened a hole, he can burst through it. If there’s little room to run, he can usually create some. Pryor enjoys watching his teammate carry the football.
“The obvious thing is Kwesi’s power,” Pryor said. “It takes a few people to bring him down, and the other thing is his vision. He can see things I might not see.”
Pryor is new to Hough this year after playing at Ardrey Kell and rushing for 529 yards and three scores in 2017. He’s more likely to juke a defender and more of a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Kyei-Fordjour is amazed by Pryor’s speed.
“When he gets it outside,” Kyei-Fordjour said, “nobody’s going to catch him.”
Against Ardrey Kell in the pre-Hurricane Florence Wednesday night game, Pryor ran 17 times for 104 yards, with a long carry of 18, and a 6-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Pryor also caught two passes for 50 yards, and his 15-yard touchdown reception from Kennique Bonner-Steward late in the second quarter gave Hough a 24-0 halftime lead.
Kyei-Fordjour ran seven times for 89 yards and took a fourth-and-1 handoff 24 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. He had a long run of 26 yards in the third.
The two have combined for 538 yards and eight scores so far, as Hough is averaging 204.5 rushing yards per game, with Kyei-Fordjour gaining 7 yards per carry and Pryor 5.9.
In other words, the two-back attack is working. Jenkins is pleased, and the backs are thankful to have each other.
“We compete every day in practice,” Pryor said. “We have an edge.”