September 22, 2009 9:18:00 AM
Terrance Dentry is trying to find himself.
The New Hope High School junior running back isn''t experiencing an identity crisis.
Instead, he is attempting to return to the form that helped him rush for more than 1,000 yards and nearly score 20 touchdowns.
Tupelo, Amory, and Caledonia would say the 2009 version of Dentry is just as good as last year''s model.
On Friday, Dentry rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in New Hope''s 30-0 victory against Caledonia.
For his accomplishments, Dentry is The Commercial Dispatch''s Prep Player of the Week.
"The Terrance Dentry from last year is coming back, and he is going to be running and doing his thing," Dentry said.
Dentry''s effort was the second consecutive game he saw limited playing time in an easy victory.
Dentry broke his collarbone last year in New Hope''s loss to eventual Class 4A state champion Noxubee County in the third round of the North Half State playoffs.
He said New Hope High coach Bradley had faith in him coming back from the injury and has pushed him to return to form.
Dentry said the injury was the first serious injury he suffered in his career. He said the injury didn''t affect his preparation for the 2009 season.
"If I get hurt, I am going to get hurt," Dentry said. "I am going 100 percent."
Bradley said Dentry has the strength, speed, and ability to be a back that shoulders the load for the Trojans (3-0).
But the Trojans have a host of weapons on offense this season, which means Bradley can keep Dentry fresh for the fourth quarter when he can unleash his speed against tiring defenses.
"He is stronger (than he was last year)," Bradley said. "He is just a freak in the weight room. He works extremely hard. He has a super attitude."
Bradley said Dentry, who is 5-foot-9 and weighs 180 pounds, squats 575 pounds. He said Dentry''s improved strength has helped his speed.
"It shouldn''t be possible for a high junior with his size to be that strong," Bradley said. "For a 16-year-old kid, that is impressive. He is very explosive, and he had that last year. He runs about a 4.55 (in the 40-yard dash). He is just a pleasure to coach."
Bradley said Dentry is so fun to coach because he is a team player. He said Dentry enjoys being in a stable of athletes who can "tote the mail" for the Trojans.
Against Caledonia, New Hope attempted only one pass. In rainy conditions and on a wet field, Bradley challenged Dentry to take on a key role, and he responded.
"Terrance has the potential to be a go-to back any time we need a play," Bradley said. "It can be ''Terrance Time,'' and we just block and let him do his thing. He doesn''t need much. He is so fast getting through a hole that if you give him a little crease, you better look out because he is fixing to tote it for a while."
Dentry, who has rushed for 258 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries this season, said his vision has improved from last season. He said he is working hard to get back to where he was last year when he felt he ran the ball hard and hit the holes better.
"I can run harder," Dentry said. "I have played all right in the first part of the season. I have had two fumbles, but I am getting better holding on to the football. I am trying to get my speed down to 4.3."
Editor''s Note: Aberdeen High School running back Jamerson Love and Hebron Christian pitcher Chloe Tapley also received consideration for the award.
Love scored five touchdowns in a 43-0 victory against Okolona. He rushed for 118 yards for the second consecutive game and scored four rushing touchdowns and another on a 41-yard middle screen.
Tapley, a ninth-grader, had 40 strikeouts in 24 innings last week. She allowed only five hits and pitched two no-hitters and two one-hitters.
At the plate, she went 9-for-14 (.642) with three doubles, a triple, 12 RBIs, and nine runs scored in six games.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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