Trott carries load at Atholton

October 14, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Nobody misses Jon Sanford more than Ricky Trott.

Trott and Sanford formed a backfield that produced 549 yards and five touchdowns in three games for Atholton. Sanford, a 5 feet 10, 191-pound fullback, opened holes and his power rushing complemented the finesse style of Trott.

But Sanford has played only two quarters in the past two games with a sprained ankle and will miss tomorrow's game at Mount Hebron.

Trott found himself without his lead blocker and the second rushing option was gone. Not coincidentally, he has struggled as the main running threat.

The Raiders (3-2) have struggled, too. Losing their first two Howard County games, the Raiders have scored one touchdown.

The junior running back has rushed for only 111 yards on 32 carries in his past two games -- dropping his average to 99 yards per game. Once gaining 6.9 yards per carry, Trott has dropped to a 3.5-yard average over two games.

"I've seen the difference with him gone," Trott said. "It seemed early this year that there was only one guy meeting me at the line. Now there is two or three.

"My goal was to gain 1,000 yards this year. But I've slowed down and am a little off that pace now. That just motivates me more for the upcoming games."

Trott needs space to make the quick cutbacks to elude tacklers. Last season, Trott showcased his open-field running as Howard County's top punt and kickoff returner.

Except Trott has had only a few games to grow into the new role of the Raiders' starting running back and defensive back, as well as continuing to run back kicks.

"He's progressed as much as I've wanted," Atholton coach Don van Deusen said. "He's just got more well-known and people are looking for him. If I was the other team, I would be looking for him."

The grind of being the primary target hasn't hampered the 5-9, 170-pound Trott -- yet.

"I like my role staying the way it is," Trott said. "I wanted to play a lot after only getting the ball on special teams last year. But sooner or later, it's going to take its toll."

Van Deusen can't afford to lose Trott because the Raiders aren't deep. Nine of his players play on defense and offense.

But Van Deusen said he needs Trott to add some size.

"He's going 100 percent all the time, but he needs to get bigger," Van Deusen said. "He takes a beating out there, playing as much as he does. If

he gets bigger, maybe we can get people out to look at him."

With the offense struggling last week, Atholton switched to a one-back, four-receiver set in the second half against Oakland Mills. Trott fit right into the new formation.

The Raiders' version of the run-and-shoot offense allowed Trott to demonstrate his open-field running.

"That formation spreads out the defense more," Van Deusen said. "It gave Ricky more room to get started. Usually, the first tackler doesn't get him down."

But Trott has the disadvantage of working behind a small offensive line.

"I have to be quicker than the line," Trott said. "I have to hit the line as fast as I can. I don't have time to delay and look for another gap."

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