When a coach says he's implementing the run-and-shoot offense, the quarterback and receivers rejoice.
And the running backs cringe.
"When I first came here last year (from Brooklyn Park), I had just come from a Power-I, so I knew I wasn't going to get the ball as much," North County senior Anthony Walker said.
He's trying to love the offense, but a busy back is a happy back. And Walker wasn't very busy on offense Friday night.
With four carries in each half, Walker managed 60 yards in the Knights' 9-8, come-from-behind win over visiting Arundel.
His days of flirting with the 1,000-yard mark are over. But, "Everything's working out OK. The team's doing all right,"he said, after a late touchdown pass from sophomore Reggie Moore to senior Troy Ross averted an upset.
The touchdown, despite excellent coverage from the Wildcats' secondary, came with 1 minute, 18 seconds left in the game and completed a five-play, 47-yard drive.
Senior Chuck Griffith booted the extra point to provide the margin of victory and hand Arundel its second loss.
After leading the county inrushing as a sophomore with 985 yards at Brooklyn Park, Walker carried the ball only 41 times last year while subbing for Vernon Dawson.
Last Saturday's 22-21 victory over Oakland Mills -- when the Knights again had to rally in the latter stages -- appeared to signal a change, with Walker rushing 20 times for 70 yards.
But the Knights will continue to pass first, and Walker was reduced to a blocker and decoy for most of Friday's game.
"He's going to get the ball an average of 10 times," North County coach Chuck Markiewicz said.
"Lastweek was an aberration. It was Reggie's first start, and we wanted to make it easier on him.
"We figure we've got the horse, so use it."
The Knights rode Walker's strong play from his inside linebacker position for much of the game.
He was in on numerous tackles andforced Arundel quarterback George Epps to ground the ball intentionally on the Wildcats' last, desperate drive.
He had an earlier sackof Epps and also made a touchdown-saving tackle from behind on Arundel senior Matt Henson (123 yards) after a 40-yard sprint down the right sideline. He also saved the Knights by falling on a teammate's fumbled punt return in the fourth quarter.
"He thinks he's going to be a running back if he goes to college," Markiewicz said of Walker, "but he'll be a strong safety." At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, "he doesn't have the size to play linebacker in college. But he's got the speed."
That speed -- a 4.3 timing in the 40-yard -- -- has drawn the attention of such universities as Syracuse, Clemson, Houston and Pittsburgh.
Though he didn't come close to his offensive numbers at Brooklyn Park last season, 1990 wasn't a complete washout for Walker.
Herushed for 202 yards, caught eight passes for another 161 yards and scored six touchdowns.
Walker also made first-team All-County at linebacker after leading the Knights in tackles and grabbing six interceptions.
He didn't touch the ball Friday night until 5 minutes, 20 seconds remained in the first quarter, when he took a pitch to the left and gained 1 yard.
Four plays earlier, he had blocked two Wildcats as Moore completed his first pass, a 13-yarder to Ross.
Walker's next carry didn't come until early in the second quarter, when he was tripped and lost 2 yards on a draw.
His biggest gain in the opening half was a 13-yarder on a sweep to the left side, which he followed with a 3-yarder for a first down.
He ran for 18, 10, six and 11 yards in the second half, while Moore struggled against a fierceArundel pass rush before ending the night 14-for-38 for 143 yards and one interception. He was sacked four times.
"I wanted to have the ball more because I felt that would open things up more for the pass," Walker said.
Not to worry. North County managed its second victory. As Walker says, "everything's working out OK."