12/11/05 — Southern Wayne's Mr. 2,000

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Southern Wayne's Mr. 2,000

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on December 11, 2005 2:12 AM

It might be rare to consider a young, sophomore running back, "complete." Southern Wayne's Anthony Council is a unique exception to that notion.

Council is a solid 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and he runs between a 4.4-4.5 in the 40-yard dash. The sophomore runs just as well between the tackles as he does outside. Just as important as his physical prowess ... he's coachable.

All of those attributes, combined with strong offensive line play, made for one impressive season in 2005 -- Council's first year at the varsity level.

Coming off of a 2,000-yard campaign as a freshman on the junior varsity team, Council improved on those numbers with 2,129 rushing yards on 308 attempts (6.8 yards per carry) this year. He averaged 174.4 yards per game with 28 touchdowns. All of these eye-popping statistics proved to be area-bests.

According to ncpreps.com, Council had the 10th most rushing yards in North Carolina and was among the state leaders all season.

For all his accomplishments and ability to help lead Southern Wayne to its best football season in school history, Council is the 2005 News-Argus Offensive Player of the Year.

Not bad for a kid who still hasn't reached his 16th birthday.

He admits adjusting to the varsity level wasn't easy at first, especially holding onto the football against harder-hitting defenses.

"I kind of went out a little timid, then I got used to it. It became just a regular thing, and it came natural to me," Council said. "At practice, they started making me do agility drills and sprints with the ball, so I got used to it. The other players would get a reward if they got the ball from me, so it made me aware to hold the ball real tight."

Watching Council run, he certainly made it look easy at times. With long strides, yet still with a burst, he emerged the key cog in the Saints' Wing-T offense that racked up a county-best 292.3 yards per game.

"Anthony would be the first to tell you that the offensive line is very important. No matter the talent level, you've got to get him through the line," Southern Wayne coach Bob Warren said. "Getting him through the line was a big plus, but he also made some plays on his own. If the hole was clogged up, he could make something else happen. There were plenty occasions where that happened."

Obviously, Council was strong through the year, but he seemed to turn things up a notch when it mattered most down the stretch.

Facing county and Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference rival Charles B. Aycock in the regular season finale with favorable playoff seeding on the line, the sophomore fullback posted 170 yards on 31 tough carries with two touchdowns -- the first and final score in a 24-0 win. The victory sealed up a 3-0 record against county foes for the Saints (8-4 overall), who finished 3-2 in the ECC and received a No. 10 seed for the 3-A (small school) N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

One week later, Council rushed for a whopping, 327 yards with four touchdowns as Southern Wayne dismantled Bertie 47-18 in Windsor in the first round of the playoffs -- marking the Saints' first postseason win. Southern Wayne's season ended one week later at Northeast Guilford as the Rams bottled up the Saints' rushing attack.

The tough loss in the second round has left Council and Southern Wayne hungry to improve in 2006.

"I want to be better. I got 2,000 yards this year, but I want to have more next year," Council said.

"People are going to be expecting me to do better than last year, but I don't really feel pressure. I just go out and play and give it all I've got."