November 11, 2009 9:06:00 AM
MABEN -- Coach Jimmy Carden has had the privilege of coaching several O''Briants at East Webster High School, but said Demetrius might be the toughest.
Carden said all of them have brought something extra to the table while playing for the Wolverines, but Demetrius, a junior running back, doesn''t let his size (5-foot-11, 150 pounds) bother him.
"He''s not a big guy, but has a lot of heart," Carden said. "He''s pretty much fearless and doesn''t mind sticking his nose in there and getting after it."
O''Briant has stepped up to lead East Webster in rushing this season after his older brother, Reginald, graduated and went on to play baseball at Holmes Community College.
O''Briant had 131 yards on the ground in last week''s 33-8 first-round Class 2A playoff victory against Coahoma County.
He will lead the Wolverines into the second round of the playoffs when they play host to Calhoun City at 7 p.m. Friday.
Reginald O''Briant, who was a 1,000-yard rusher for East Webster last season, used his quickness to pile up yardage, while Demetrius is more of a power back.
"Demetrius runs harder than Reggie did," Carden said. "There''s one area where one is a little stronger and another area the other one is, but they are both good backs and good kids. They are going to compete when you put them out there."
Demetrius said he and his brother get their competitive nature from their father Reginald Sr., who was also a running back.
"He used to get out in the yard, play with us and teach us how to run," O''Briant said. "That just kind of stuck."
O''Briant has used the instruction from his father and what he picked up from his brother last year to help steer his own career.
He''ll try to do something that his brother couldn''t last year and that''s help his team defeat Calhoun City in the playoffs.
O''Briant is anxious for another chance at the Wildcats after the Wolverines lost a 14-7 decision in Calhoun City during the Class A playoffs last season.
"This is what we''ve been waiting for," O''Briant said. "We''ve got to go out, play hard as a team and coach each other up."
East Webster (6-6) has stepped up its performance in the last two games, especially defensively.
The last 10 quarters, the Wolverines have only allowed eight points and that was in the fourth quarter to Coahoma County.
That has brought a great deal of optimism to the Wolverines.
"We''re getting more confidence and playing together well," Carden said.
The Wolverines have also scored 57 points in the last two games and O''Briant believes that''s because they are protecting the football, the quarterback and receivers are getting open.
Carden said East Webster must do more of the same if it''s to stay in the game against the Wildcats.
"It''s a ballgame, we feel like we can compete in," Carden said. "It''s going to be one of those deals where you''ve got to control the clock and not give up big plays. That''s something that has hurt us, giving up big plays."
Calhoun City has the ability of making big plays with quarterback J. R. Jennings (1,477 yards passing this season).
The Wildcats fell behind Walnut, but rallied for a 48-21 victory behind Jennings'' passing.
"I see trouble for the home team," Carden said. "The quarterback has good speed and throws the football real well. He''s the best passer we''ve seen. He really doesn''t run it much and doesn''t seem to like to run it, but he really hits his receivers well."
1. QBs shine for MSU in spring game COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Coker has best performance in Alabama spring game COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU baseball drops another SEC series COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Tailbacks step into spotlight in spring game COLLEGE SPORTS