Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Borah football: Hunter Kenyon profile

In early December, I interviewed Borah (Idaho) running back Hunter Kenyon, who led the league in rushing this season. Here is the article that will appear in his team's 2012 football yearbook.

Hunter Kenyon:

Lions’ RB grinded out over 1,000 yards
and solidified team’s offensive attack

By Bruce Smith
             Hunter Kenyon played football for nine years. He saved his best for last.
            Kenyon, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back, wasn’t a game-breaker. But he led the SIC in rushing with 1,168 yards and topped the team in scoring (82 points).
            Most importantly, he was there when needed.
            “He’s your typical grinder,” said coach Darren Corpus. “He’s a guy that, if you need a hard yard, he’ll get you two. If you need a guy to pick up a blitz, he’ll do that. He’s like an extra offensive lineman.”
            While quarterback Cole Skinner was throwing touchdown passes to guys like Kion Williams and Justin Coburn, Kenyon was setting up the plays by giving Borah a running game.
            Kenyon also added to Borah’s tradition. His dad, Quane, played football at Borah, and so did his older brother. For years, tales of Borah football were told in their household and now Hunter has plenty of his own.
            When highly touted back Ryan Emry got hurt last year, Kenyon ran for 516 yards, scored eight touchdowns, and was named second team all-SIC. However, he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry while QB Braden Corpus was attracting most of the opponent’s attention.
            It didn’t take him long for foes to notice him this year.
            In Borah’s third game, a 33-28 win over Meridian, Kenyon scored four touchdowns, and three came in the Lions’  big rally, which players and coaches alike called a turning point of the season.
            Kenyon had a career-high 219 yards in that game and averaged over 10 yards per carry. However, he wouldn’t take credit for the turn of events. He said there was a bigger play in the locker room at halftime that the fans didn’t see.
            “At halftime, I jogged off the field, like everyone else, and found a seat close to where the coaches would be in the locker room. I waited, and drank some water.
            “But they didn’t come in. Hawkins (Mann) did and got everyone’s attention. He was really angry. He couldn’t keep cool and he told us how he felt. He gave a speech.
            “I’m not a very vocal person. I’ve never been able to do anything like that. He was saying that we had to stand up for our brothers on the field.”
            Borah trailed 28-6 at the time. A loss would have dropped the Lions to 1-2. Instead, it created momentum (and fan support) as Borah continued on a six-game streak.
            “He (Kenyon) was very quiet, but had a businesslike attitude,” Corpus said. “I can’t say enough of what he did for our team. He’d get to the hole and move the chains.”
            Kenyon rushed for over 100 yards in every game after that – except a comfortable 38-21 win over Vallivue (Borah had a 38-0 lead at one time). He suffered a high ankle sprain in Borah’s 27-17 win over Rocky Mountain that earned the Lions a share of the SIC title.
            He got some help, though, as the offensive line continued to open holes and Karsten Niederer also got over the 100-yard mark. Kenyon’s injury didn’t heal quickly, however, and he was able to get into just two plays in the 5A playoff game against Highland.
            “We had a lot of guys banged up and unable to practice,” Kenyon recalled. “I didn’t feel too good (against Highland). The ankle couldn’t do anything. We just ran a blast and I got six or seven yards.
            “I tried to cheer on our defense, listen to what we were doing on offense and do whatever I could. It sucked.”
            It also made everyone realize how important he was to Borah’s success.
            Kenyon, who used to play basketball but continued to compete in track, hoped to play football in college. At press time, a few NAIA schools had looked at him and Corpus continued to laud his contributions.
            But there’s no taking away what he accomplished in high school.

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.