Lakeside’s Stivers switches from creating gaps to running through them
After three years blocking for others, Jeremy Stivers hopes the other way around works for him.
The Lakeside (Plummer/Worley) senior is switching from left guard, where he’s been a starter for three years, to running back. The 5-foot-8, 190-pounder is keeping his lineman number – 78.
“It’s not the typical number of a running back,” Stivers said. “Since it’s my last year I thought I’d stick with it.”
Stivers, also a starter at middle linebacker, was an all-North Star League pick last year. He led the Knights (6-3) in tackles.
Coach Ron Miller was contemplating who he was going to start at running back this year when it dawned on him that one of his fastest guys happened to be a lineman. He also recalled Stivers had returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown in a 42-40 loss to nemesis Wallace.
“He’s never been a running back before so it’s a project,” Miller said. “He had a good track season and he’s a strong kid so he’s not going to hurt us back there.”
In fact, Stivers hopes to carry the Knights to their first State 1A Division I playoff berth. Since moving to Division I in 2004, Lakeside hasn’t made the playoff, losing each year to Wallace, the other Division I team in the NSL. The Knights haven’t been to the state playoffs since 2001.
Miller would take a team full of Stiverses.
“He’s a great kid to coach,” Miller said. “He’s absolutely a joy. He shows up early, stays later. He’ll do whatever it takes to make him better.”
The biggest adjustment for Stivers from lineman to running back is timing.
“At left guard you just wait for the ball to be snapped and block the guy in front of you,” he said. “At running back you have to work on timing.”
He knows his contributions on offense will increase measurably this season.
“People say running backs get the glory,” Stivers said. “I don’t care about that, but I feel like I can score for the team. I’ve always had a wont to carry the ball and show people what I can do.”