Player of the week: DaMarcus James

Published 12:50 pm Thursday, October 14, 2010

Greenville came to town last week. The top spot in Class 5A, Region 3 was on the line. The October chill was in the air. The pressure on Demopolis had not yet been greater in this rapidly-fading season.

That is DaMarcus James’ time of the year. It is the time when he can carry the ball 15 times or 40 and still do enough damage to send an otherwise good defense reeling into the next week.

Friday night against the visiting Tigers, it only took 24 carries for DaMarcus James to underscore why he might be the least popular man in Greenville.

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After torching the 2009 Class 5A, Region 3 champions with 43 carries in the second round of the playoffs last year, James averaged more than 10 yards a carry Friday night.

He scored on runs of nine and three yards. But the most demoralizing of carries was the 50-yard touchdown run.

It is not the length of the run that is so damaging to Greenville spirits. It was the way he made the run.

James’ long runs typically involve him shaking a tackler or two, blasting through another and ultimately going the distance. Friday night’s long run was markedly different.

James took the handoff from quarterback Ben Pettus, made one move and hit the sidelines. Criticized by many Division I coaches and scouts for not having “top end” speed, James made one of his fastest runs to date.

Once he hit the sideline, most of the Greenville secondary was both ahead of him and had the angle on him. James found a gear most did not know he possessed as he out ran everyone to the end zone.

Offensive coordinator Kyle Williams called it the fastest he has ever seen James play. Truth is, there are probably a handful of guys on the Greenville defense that would agree. The back ended the night with 248 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.

And, as he sits at 1,145 yards rushing on the year, James’ personal favorite moment of the night was the fumble recovery he made during a brief cameo at linebacker. Yep. It’s that time of year again.