2019 All Area Team: Running Backs

 

SAN ANGELO, TX — Our third installment of the All Area team focuses on the do it all running backs that ran wild this season.  From the triple option to the spread, there were four running backs whose performances this season stood above the rest. 

These players were a huge part in pushing their teams into the postseason this year and making two of them district champions.

Here they are:

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At 5'11" and 190 pounds, Cooper Bean was a load for defenses to bring down all season.  He was a consistent threat out of the backfield and averaged 5.9 yards per carry or better in every game besides Ballinger's close loss to Anson. His best performance was a 128 yard, three touchdown showing against district foe Merkel. 

Even with his size, he has quick feet and can hit a high gear when in open space.  Ballinger played a couple different quarterbacks this year, but Bean was an option that Head Coach Chuck Lipsey could lean on throughout the year.  The picture above is from Bean's 98 yard game against a very good Cisco team that finished the season 11-2 and lost in the third round of the playoffs.  He broke free up the middle and outran everyone for a 51 yard touchdown. 

Bean was also named District 4-3A DII's Defensive MVP for his play as a linebacker this year. 

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Wilson Johnson, 25, Senior, Sonora

When fellow senior Brock Aschenbeck went down with a season ending injury against Wall early in the season, Wilson Johnson filled the hole and some.  Aschenbeck and Johnson split the majority of touches until the injury, but he became one of the only options for Head Coach Kevin Sherrill's ground and pound offense as the season wore on.

In Sonora's game against Burnet, their first without Aschenbeck, Johnson exploded for 234 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries.  He had another 258 yard game against Johnson City, which does not include the 50+ yard pick six he had as a linebacker on defense.  He also had 187 against district champion Comfort. 

Wilson is a tremendous athlete at 5'11" and 190 pounds.  He is lightning quick, and when he gets to the edge is rarely caught.  By playing middle linebacker and running back, he was subject to contact on nearly every play, but he did not miss a snap.  Follow this link to watch the Cover1 video of him and the Broncos putting on an offensive display against Johnson City.

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Klay Klaerner, 41, Senior, Mason

There are not many high school running backs that have the speed and power combination that Mason's Klay Klaerner does.  Another LB/RB iron man, he was a huge part of last year's state championship team as a junior and continued his dominance as a runner and run stopper this past season.

The Punchers' offense averaged 35 points per game this season, and Klaerner was their most steady and explosive weapon.  He had a tremendous ability to take handoffs inside and turn what should have been a short gain or tackle for loss for the defense into a positive play.  He was also a regular target for quarterback Matthew Kerr in the passing game out of the backfield.  

It was nearly impossible for a defender to make a one on one tackle on Klaerner in the open field, and he ran all over 2A defenses throughout the 2019 season.  Mason just needed to get him the ball.

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Chase Rios, 5, Junior, Wall

Chase Rios is the most elusive and hard to catch back of this talented group.  Only a junior, he returns next year behind an offensive line that also returns a majority of its starters.  His regular season was cut short thanks to a shoulder injury suffered in their week nine game against Eastland.  Even on the play he got hurt, he ran for 70 yards before being flung down out of bounds.

Wall had 11 different players carry the ball for a meaningful amount of times this season, but Rios was their featured back.  At one point in the middle of the season, he had three straight games with over 120 yards rushing.  His speed and home run ability were a threat on every play, and defenses needed to game plan specifically for him.  This ability could be seen in his limited action against Pilot Point in Wall's round three loss.  Sophomore Dominic Garcia had taken over in his absence, so Rios' first touch did not come until after Wall's one and only touchdown of the game.  He took the handoff around the left side for 32 yards just like that.

It is hard for a single offensive player to shine in Houston Guy's program, but Rios did.  Players share the load, and they hit defenses with multiple options from multiple spots on the field.  Rios will be back next year with a plethora of returning stars to try and give Wall their first state championship in school history.

Check below for our previously released position groups:

2019 All Area Team: Offensive Line

2019 All Area Team: Defensive Line

2019 All Area Team: Linebackers

2019 All Area Team: Defensive Backs

2019 All Area Team: Wide Receivers

2019 All Area Team: Quarterbacks

2019 All Area Team: MVP 

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