The Community Braves football team is eager to hit the field again, led by a strong group of running backs.
After reaching the postseason last year in the bi-district round, the Braves bring back three of their top four runners from a team that ran the ball 394 times in 2021. Head coach Dustin Blann is excited for the running back room, returning with just a bit more experience for the new season.
“We’ve got some good running backs coming back and some young guys coming in who could make an impact,” Blann said.
The team is led by starting tailback Brandol Hernandez. The three-sport athlete led the team with 10 touchdowns rushing last season to go along with 557 yards and 7.3 yards per carry. Coach Blann said he will likely lead the group in carries this upcoming year.
“Brandol is an excellent all-around athlete, competing in soccer and track at a high level as well,” Blann said. “He’s got great vision and great speed at the position to make an impact and really does some good things for us.”
Running a wing-t style of offense, Community is set to spread their carries out among multiple players. With three or four threats to get a carry on the field at all times, it creates a level of misdirection a defense can struggle to follow.
“It’s extremely important to be able to rotate a variety of runners,” Blann said. “We’ve got guys who can protect the ball and lineman who can create holes for them to run through. It’s up to us to take advantage of different strengths and use our player’s abilities to their maximum potential.”
Along with Hernandez, Quinton Hall and Gabe Duron are set to get the bulk of the carries for Community. Hall also had 10 touchdowns rushing last season with 454 yards and was named an all-district safety for the Braves.
Blann appreciates Hall’s physicality in the lineup, calling him one of the best blockers on the team.
“Quinton is one of the best players, if not the best player on our team and does some excellent stuff for us,” Blann said. “He plays safety for us and is elite there and brings that toughness to the offensive side of the ball. He brings a great blocking ability and has home run plays in his toolbox.”
Along with Hall, Duron brings a tough running ability as the team’s starting fullback. He’s made an early impact as the team’s starting fullback this season, gaining 4.4 yards per carry as the team’s fifth option in the backfield.
“Gabe is a quality runner as well,” Blann said. “We’re excited about him and what he’s able to do for us at this level.”
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By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]