December 11, 2008

Heritage Hall freshman Sanders is earning his name

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Heritage Hall senior linebacker Banning Fudge looks forward to just about everything when it comes to practice and games. The one thing he doesn’t look forward to: facing off with running back Barry Sanders.

"You can see his dad in him. He’s already a pretty scary athlete,” Fudge said.

Sanders, a freshman, is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. But the younger Sanders knows nobody will respect him based on his last name. He needed to earn it. He found out early that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

"Those first couple of days during the summer were rough. The conditioning was something I had never seen before,” Sanders said. "But it’s definitely made me better for it.”

While Heritage Hall’s motto for the season has been "finish,” Sanders is just getting started.

His first career carry, against Casady, lost 4 yards — not the way he wanted to start his high school career. But his last carry, a 64-yard touchdown run last week against Lincoln Christian, showed why the coaching staff and his teammates are so high on him.

Sanders broke a couple of tackles and hurdled another in earning his ninth touchdown of the season.

Sanders hasn’t started at running back but has become the main runner in the second half. He has 637 rushing yards, nearly 8.0 yards per attempt.

"The defense gets tired as the game keeps going, and I’ve found a role. It’s been a lot of fun,” Sanders said.

Sanders said he doesn’t mind people automatically compare him to his father, the former Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions star. He said he talked to his father Monday and said Sanders Sr. hopes to be at Putnam City Stadium on Saturday night, when Heritage Hall plays Chandler for the Class 2A state championship.

Just because his father is famous doesn’t mean Sanders isn’t like a normal freshman.

"I have a lot of nerves right now. This is what you dream about. We’ve put the time in, now it’s time to finish,” he said.

Sanders is a part of what Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert has called the best freshman class he’s ever had. With Sanders at running back, Cale Courtney at quarterback and Marc Robinson at linebacker, the Chargers have a healthy future to build on.

"There is just a lot of dedication and drive,” said Sanders. "But for us young guys, we want to win this one for the seniors, because they’ve taught us so much.”

Source: New Sok

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