September 20, 2013 11:39:16 AM
Even without his coach in the room, Anthony Sharp knows the first fundamental for football success.
Asked how he was able to score six touchdowns last week in a victory against Tabernacle Christian, the Victory Christian School junior running back didn't hesitate to share the credit.
"It takes a good line blocking and a good teammate in Cody Bolton, who set up some good runs for me," Sharp said.
Sharp and Bolton hope to have their "hogs" up front pave the way for similar success at 7 tonight when Victory Christian (3-1) plays host to Ezekiel Academy (Montgomery, Ala.). The game is one of only three home games for the Eagles this season due to a loss of two teams in the Christian Football Association.
Sharp had 12 carries for 195 yards last week in a 63-20 victory against Tabernacle in its CFA opener. Sharp scored on runs of 48, 3, 17, 54, and 39 yards. He also scored on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Reed Fulgham. Bolton also has 11 carries for 116 yards. He scored on a 22-yard run.
Sharp smiled when asked if he and Bolton talk in the huddle to decide which player will get the chance to score the touchdown. Last week, Sharp benefited from a long run by Bolton that drove the ball all the way to the 3-yard line to set up a short burst by Sharp.
"We don't get too selfish about it," Sharp said. "We are best friends. It is all about the team. Whoever has the hot hand that night, we ride them."
The rushing attack helped Victory Christian rebound from a 48-8 loss to Evangel Christian School on Sept. 6. With a game against archrival Tuscaloosa Christian set for next week, Sharp and coach Chris Hamm would like to see Victory Christian have another successful week. Next week's game, though, isn't the matchup that counts in the CFA standings. That game will come Oct. 18, when Victory Christian plays host to its biggest rival in its regular-season finale.
With less than 20 players on the roster, Hamm hopes Sharp's attitude continues to fuel the team's success.
"I have been pleased that this team has toughed it out throughout the game," Hamm said. "We have been fortunate not to have injuries and the little things, like cramps. I have been really pleased the importance of playing through things and to do their responsibilities."
Sharp said the Eagles had to adjust to Fulgham, a sophomore quarterback, and limited numbers. He said Hamm and the coaches have stressed preparation and the need for everyone to play their roles. If everyone does that to their best ability, Sharp has confidence the team will be remembered for coming together and overcoming the lack of depth to do big things. The key, though, will be doing it as a group.
"It is important to keep the ball rolling and not to have a slip-up right before we play Tuscaloosa," Sharp said. "We just need to stay at the top of our game and keep our confidence up."
After scoring six touchdowns, Sharp said his confidence is high -- not just in his abilities but all of his teammates. Hamm hopes Sharp and Bolton can keep it going.
"I felt Anthony did a really good job running the ball," Hamm said. "We had talked about finishing the runs, running through tackles, not being tackled by one guy, and making it difficult on the defense. The running game is balanced up this year and the defense can't really determine which way we're going with more of a split-back attack (with Sharp and Bolton)."
That ground game helped erase the memory of the loss to Evangel Christian and the team's worst practice of the season, according to Hamm, in the days leading up to the Tabernacle game. Hamm said Victory Christian's performance last week gives him confidence that the team can realize the potential that he saw in the preseason.
"They responded well because we talked (last Tuesday) we had one or two ways to go," Hamm said. "We could regroup and go forward or we could take a nosedive. Last year after the first couple of games, that is kind of the way we went. I was very proud and told them after the game that they did what they needed to do to regroup after that."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
1. Starkville High's Mattox receives Gatorade award HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. McQuary, Rooker lead MSU past Ole Miss COLLEGE SPORTS
3. International flavor works for MSU men's tennis team COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Errors cost Heritage Academy in Game 1 of playoffs HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. MSU men's golf coach Homan announces retirement COLLEGE SPORTS