November 5, 2009 10:30:00 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Everything came together Friday night for Trevor Eaves.
It was motivation enough that Eaves and the Central Academy football team had to face archrival Kemper Academy on Senior Night in their regular-season finale.
The game carried added motivation because Kemper Academy knocked Central Academy out of the playoffs last season.
To make matters even bigger, the Vikings needed a victory to help force a tie atop the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools eight-man District I standings.
Eaves didn''t disappoint.
The senior running back rushed for 318 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 54-0 victory.
For his efforts, Eaves is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
"I know it was the funnest game of my life, beating our archrivals," Eaves said. "We all had a big grudge against them because they put us out last year. I would have had it no other way than to beat them as bad as we did. It was very satisfying the way the game turned out."
Eaves scored on a 7-yard run in the first quarter, on a 35-yard run in the second quarter, on runs of 21 and 22 yards in the third quarter, and on a 56-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Eaves also scored on two two-point conversion runs.
The performance increased Eaves'' season totals to 1,683 yards and touchdowns.
"For me to have a big night against Kemper, that thrills me inside," Eaves said. "That is what everybody at Central Academy hopes for, to have a big night against Kemper. I guess I had a pretty big night Friday night."
Central Academy coach Ronnie Sciple said Eaves has been called on to play an even bigger role since a season-ending injury to quarterback Hunter Campbell in a game against Calvary Christian on Sept. 21 in Macon.
Campbell and Eaves, who are best friends, have different personalities. Campbell is considered more of a vocal leader, while Eaves is more of a lead-by-example player.
Sciple said Eaves has done his best late in the season to be that vocal leader who helps teammates and motivates them to play their best.
"When Hunter went down it hurt him because they have been playing together from coach-pitch on different things all of the way through," Sciple said. "They are real tight. I think (the injury) made him see things a little differently. I think it made him think about any time he ran the ball it could be his last, and it made him put out a little more."
Sciple said Eaves'' effort helped the Vikings close the regular season at 6-2. The Vikings will try at 5 p.m. today to keep their season alive when they play a three-way tiebreaker against Calvary Christian and Veritas at East Central Community College. The teams tied in the district standings with 4-1 records.
"I think he let it all hang out (against Kemper Academy)," Sciple said of Eaves. "This game he showed a lot more emotion. He used to live in a community with boys who play for Kemper Academy. After a big loss to Veritas (68-26 on Oct. 23 in Macon) what needed was a big comeback game. They performed, and he did, too."
Eaves said it has been difficult moving on with the season without Campbell, but he said he has had to regroup. The Vikings also have had to regroup with Ferris McGuire at quarterback and with two players splitting time at what was Campbell''s defensive end position.
He said the Vikings are relying more on the run now without Campbell, which puts a lot of pressure on him to produce, but he said he has accepted that responsibility and will be up for the challenge of leading the team tonight.
"Somebody had to step up and be a vocal leader when Hunter left and I guess that fell on me to pick up where he left off," Eaves said. "It is getting better and better. It''s not my personality to be really loud. I would much rather lead by example. I have been trying to lead by example and by my voice. I just had to pick up where he left off and do the best I could with it."
Eaves said it was fun playing against five or six Kemper Academy players he grew up with in the same neighborhood. He also said it was "weird" playing against former Central Academy teammate Justin Jones, who plays offensive and defensive line for Kemper Academy.
Eaves didn''t give Jones much a of a chance to stop him Friday night. Thanks to a strong effort by his offensive line, Eaves and the Vikings had little trouble.
"We had a bunch of key blocks and our offensive line was getting good blocks on their secondary," Eaves said. "We were pretty much driving it down their throats."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.