10/12/12 — Royal just one part of Rebels' potent running game

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Royal just one part of Rebels' potent running game

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2012 1:48 PM

One of the top-rushing teams on the Carolina 1-A Conference football scene this season, North Duplin hasn't lost its stride since losing a key player two weeks ago.

Tyler Royal has made sure of it.

The senior rambled for career bests in yards (425) and touchdowns (six) one week ago at Princeton. He, along with his teammates, enjoyed that phenomenal effort over the weekend and then it was back to business at practice on Monday.

"We're really glad we won," Royal said. "Now we're looking forward to this game with Ayden. That's what we're focused on."

The No. 9-ranked Chargers have won the last four meetings, including three shutouts. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. tonight at H.E. Grubbs Field.

Two weeks ago, North Duplin lost senior fullback Julio Mora to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least four more weeks. He's worked with the younger backs every practice and taught them technique, how to hit the hole hard, how to carry out fakes and run at full speed on every snap.

Royal misses his presence.

The younger players have stepped up and filled in admirably.

"We've had people step into Julio's shoes who have really worked their tail off the last couple of weeks, really stepped up their game from a mental and physical aspect," Royal said.

Ayden-Grifton, undoubtedly, is certain to have a few defensive wrinkles designed to contain Royal in the Rebels' triple-option scheme. The two-year varsity starter has accounted for nearly 60 percent of the team's offense this season, including 1,422 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground.

Should the Chargers key on Royal, he'll do what he does each snap ... take what the defense gives him and put his backfield mates to work. He's confident that his veteran offensive line -- left tackle Larry White, left guard Lee Rouse, center Dakota Boggs, right guard Chris Swinson and right tackle Kody Kennedy -- can consistently create running lanes against their physical-minded opponent.

The quintet has blocked well in an offense that's manufactured 29 touchdowns and averages 373.7 yards a game.

"We're confident in our plays and don't change anything based on one particular team," Royal said. "I trust my linemen. They protect me better than any line you can have and I give them all the props because they do the job. Without my offensive line, nothing happens for the fullbacks, slots and me.

"They open up huge holes that you can't help but see to run through."

Royal doesn't label himself a star.

He's simply one of 11 individuals who each holds himself accountable for every play that occurs on the field. They all understand that execution, playing hard and running hard to the ball on each down is what defines the Rebels' football program.

"North Duplin is about effort, heart and hard work and we definitely believe in that," Royal said.