September 1, 2009 11:51:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
ABERDEEN -- Jamerson Love knew something needed to be done.
The Aberdeen High School football team''s dream of a perfect season ended in week one at Columbus, but Love knew the season wasn''t over.
Still, the senior running back realized the Bulldogs needed someone to provide a spark to help get the team rolling again.
Love did that and more Friday night by rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns Friday in a 52-14 victory against Ray Brooks.
He also caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dezmond Jones.
For his efforts, Love is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
Love''s performance helped Aberdeen regroup after a 27-26 double-overtime loss to Columbus in its season opener Aug. 21.
Love said he did his best to motivate himself and his teammates after the defeat and worked hard to correct the mistakes the team made against the Falcons.
"Coach and them designed some schemes and ways for me to get the ball, and whatever play we ran it just opened up," Love said. "The offensive line paved the way for me and I did the rest."
Love said he can see the entire field when he hits the ball. He said he anticipates where the defenders will come from and has had great vision.
"It always has been 20-20, but I think it has gotten sharper," said Love, who doesn''t wear glasses.
The Bulldogs (1-1) lost senior starting quarterback Aaron Andrews to a high ankle sprain in the first quarter against Columbus and were limited in what they could do offensively.
Aberdeen High coach Chris Duncan said the week of practice helped Jones get more comfortable with the offense, but it was Love who again carried a huge load and took pressure off his teammates.
"He is up to about 20 carries a game," Duncan said. "I told him until we get our quarterback back you''re going to have to tote the load. He did it in a big way Friday night being three quarters of our offense."
Love rushed for 156 yards and scored a touchdown against Columbus, a Class 6A school.
Aberdeen, a Class 3A school, rushed for 338 yards Friday against Ray Brooks, a Class 1A school.
Love also saw time at quarterback Friday as Duncan and his coaches tried to introduce new ways for him to touch the ball.
Duncan said Love saw his first action at quarterback in his career against Columbus. The wrinkle is just one of several he said the Bulldogs will try to incorporate in an attempt to make their offense even more versatile.
Duncan said Love is willing to accept the added responsibility.
"He is showing some leadership and kind of stepping up to the plate," Duncan said. "We''re excited about what he is doing. He is starting to become that player we can go to over and over and over and he makes plays for us. Even though people know he is going to get the ball, they are having trouble stopping him.
"In the last two weeks he has taken a big step forward in leading the team."
Duncan said Love always has had the breakaway speed to be a game-changer. He said Love''s ability to stop on a dime and to change directions sets him apart from other top running backs.
Duncan also said Love''s vision and ability to read defenses have improved and enable him to bust through the smallest of gaps in the defense.
"He has the ability to see things and to run where people aren''t," Duncan said. "We call that running in daylight. If you watch closely on film, he squeezes through a hole you don''t think he will get through and pops out the other side and is up to the safety before they get turned around. All of that is God given, and he has been able to get a little stronger and add some weight, and he is reaping the benefits now."
Love will go to Mississippi State this weekend to take in the Bulldogs'' game against Jackson State. He said Southern Miss and MSU are his top two choices, and that he plans to make a college decision later in the season.
After losing to Louisville last season in the Class 3A North Half State title game, Love and his teammates are focused on taking two more steps and winning a state title this year.
Love said he wants to continue to improve his leg strength so he will be able to break tackles once he hits the hole. He said he has increased his squat lifts from the 300-pound range as a sophomore to more than 500 pounds as a senior.
But Love isn''t satisfied and wants to get stronger and to develop even sharper vision.
"Coach has always told me if you work hard in the weight room it is going to pay off," Love said. "Hard work always motivates me. My mother (Maggie Walker) always pushed me, and the coaches push me to do my best, and I want to do my best to make everybody happy."
Love called his mother his biggest influence. He said he never really has had a father figure around, even though he sees his father at football games. He said he gets a lot of satisfaction from delivering performances like the one against Ray Brooks because it makes his mother happy.
This week, Love wants to do even better because it feels special when he has a game-breaking performance and he knows he makes his mother proud.
"We have been through a lot of things between my mom and my dad," Love said. "My momma is my father. That is just how it is."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.