Find a running game at the next level and even in the professional ranks that is successful and generally you’ll find at least a tandem of backs.
Plano now seems to have found its tandem.
Jared Kirchmeier has been the bellcow of the offense this season and Friday the introduction of Kevin Merrill was complete.
“Merrill ripped off a long run or two and gave us some momentum,” Plano coach Jaydon McCullough said. “Merrill just brought some electricity with him.”
Kirchmeier was injured early in the third quarter and the call went to Merrill. He compiled 103 yards rushing on five carries in the third quarter alone and added a 105-yard touchdown run.
It was a well-kept secret let out of the bag. Merrill suffered a foot injury in the scrimmage against Mesquite and the plan to feature both backs in the offense was suspended. Kirchmeier became the feature back, while Merrill worked his way back.
“I don’t think he doubted he could do it,” McCullough said, of Merrill. “I think he’s special.”
There will be a place for both Merrill and Kirchmeier in the offense, according to McCullough.
“We’re lucky to have both of them,” McCullough said. “If you were talking to Jared, he’d probably tell you how happy he was for Kevin.”
That’s because there could be an opportunity for both players to do what they do best. Kirchmeier has proven to be a bruising back Plano can pound between tackles and utilize in the passing game, much the way the team used Rex Burkhead. Merrill showed his blazing speed and McCullough says he has the ability to make plays in the passing game, as well.
“We’d be crazy not to use both of them,” McCullough said. “We have got to get both of them on the field.”
And if it plays out right, the passing game might have just received a kick. That’s not because both players can catch, but because they can run. And behind every good passing game is a running game which must be respected by the defense.