Howard back keeps 'em guessing

November 04, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Corey Curtis isn't faster than a speeding bullet and doesn't leap buildings in a single bound. But opponents tend to think that he might have stopped off at a phone booth during halftime.

The Howard back makes a habit of switching running styles at intermission, which usually confuses defenses.

"The first two quarters I'm a power back, running just north and south," said Curtis, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior. "When I have intimidated them enough up the middle, I start cutting back more. I start showing my speed in the second half."

Although Curtis has blended his power and speed for 770 yards rushing and 112 yards receiving for nine touchdowns, the major question in the preseason was running back.

The success of this season would hinge on Curtis, who had to replace Howard County Offensive Player of the Year Guy Smith. While Curtis was the blocking back last season, Smith ran for his second 1,000-yard season and set the school record with 36 career touchdowns.

The Lions had to hand their running game from a record-setting tailback to a blocking back. While Curtis probably won't get voted as the county's top offensive player, he is undoubtedly the Lions' most versatile player.

Starting at running back, linebacker, punt and kick returner, Curtis is one of the major reasons that No. 5 Howard (7-1) can clinch its second straight Howard County championship with a win over Oakland Mills tomorrow. Before last season, the Lions hadn't won the county title in 17 years.

"All the credit for our success this season goes to Corey," Lions quarterback DaLawn Parrish said. "All the positions he plays for us is a compliment to his athletic ability. If we go to states, it will be on his shoulders."

As a preseason All-American pick, every opponent keys on Parrish. Curtis' running opens up the passing for Parrish.

Also in the run-and-shoot formation, Curtis is primarily a bodyguard, the last blocker to protect Parrish.

"I can't tell you how much he relieves pressure off of me," Parrish said. "He does so many little things most people don't realize. He blocks as well as he runs. And with those big guns of his, he protects my back where I don't have to worry."

Curtis takes the same amount of pride in his blocking as his running.

"I feel nobody can take me," Curtis said. "When I see a player, I go with a full head of steam. I weigh 190, so I'm not light. If I know they are bigger, I just push them into the middle where there's a crowd."

But what Curtis really wants is another county title.

"I can't settle for nothing less than first," Curtis said. "A title this year would be bigger than last year because I am more a part of the team now. I want to sacrifice everything for this title. I'm going to give it my all."

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