North Surry Greyhound’s Blaze Acord had a season for the record books, recording the second-highest single-season rushing total in the school’s history.
Blaze ran for 2,022 yards during the 2011-12 season, 462 yards short of record-holder Jostin Phipp’s 2,484 yards recorded just two seasons ago. Blaze, though, still has his senior year ahead of him to take another run at the mark.
Acord led the Hounds in offensive scoring this season nailing a total of 23 touchdowns and played a major role in establishing good field position, according to his coach. He had a 16.7 yard kick return average, said Coach Danny Lyons.
“Blaze is as natural a running back as I have seen as a coach,” Lyons said. “He is as tough as they come and will do what needs to be done for the team,” said Lyons.
“The uncoachables are the things that come natural to him. He has the vision, sees holes, and has the ability to read defensive schemes. He makes an extra yard when there doesn’t seem to be an extra one to be had.”
“I would tell him what I wanted him to do and he would deliver,” Lyons said.
Blaze said he really couldn’t put into words how he runs. “I just do it,” and “I do not like to fail.” He then added, “I like the ball in my hands. ”
Lyons added that the player’s intense focus and energy in the red zone worked to bring an increase in his success as a running back.
However, Blaze does not set a personal goal going into the game, he just wants to do whatever is needed to win. “If he needs to rush for 100 yards then that is what he is going to do,” his coach said.
He said that discipline, being in church, and knowing what is expected of him has helped him turn up the numbers in football and shaped his attitude as a student and athlete both on and off of the field.
“My dad says, score a touchdown, do what they tell you and nothing else, and that is what I try to do.”
Lyons said having Blaze on the team has made the season exciting, and overall he is happy with what his team accomplished.
“This group has put us back on the map, so to speak and we will be going for the championship next year,” Lyons said.
Blaze said his interest in football began at around 5 years of age after watching older kids play. He played in little league and won player of the year, he said.
His dad, Eric Acord and brother, Colton, spent year after year throwing footballs in the yard with him, and his sisters are still his cheerleaders to this day, he said.
Jordan Tucker is the running back coach for the Hounds and worked in unison with Lyons and assistant coach David Carpenter to make sure Blaze got the ball this season, Lyons said.
“We really wanted him to constantly a crease,” said Lyons.
Blaze understands that despite his numbers, it is a team effort. He said that he wanted the hard work of fullbacks Shawn Dehart and George Rumplasch to be recognized as a significant part of his success. Shawn was the lead blocker during a game in which Blaze rushed for 273 yards, said coach Lyons.
Blaze said kicker Austin Barker and his “50-yard” punt ability and special teams kicker Carlos Flores needed to be recognized too. “Barker kept our opponents pinned deep and we were able to get back on the field and score points,” said Blaze.
The goal-oriented, team appreciative, and raw-talented young man hopes to some day get a scholarship and attend the University of West Virginia, where his dad is from, and then play in the NFL.
Blaze will be a senior next year and hopes to have a shot at breaking the 2,500-yard rushing mark since the team will return with all but two starters.