CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Carry after carry, it's hard to miss Meadow Bridge running back Jacob Parker, yet that's exactly what opposing defenses do when looking to tackle the Mountain State's top returning rusher.
Parker, a rising senior, narrowly missed the state record for carries last season when he rushed 356 times for 2,415 yards and 29 touchdowns. Parker's contributions led the Class A Wildcats to an 8-3 record following a first round loss in the playoffs to Greenbrier West.
In order to bear the toll of such a workload, Meadow Bridge Coach Larry McClintic said Parker toils endlessly to build his strength.
"Jacob is a strong kid," McClintic said. "He's very dedicated to the weight room and as the years have gone by he's proven his ability to see the field and be able to cut. He's strong enough to where he can get a lot of yardage on his own."
That strength allows Parker to confidently run inside where defenders await.
"I prefer running between the tackles, nothing too fancy," Parker said. "I don't juke. I prefer to run someone over, make them pay for trying to hit you."
Last season, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Parker averaged nearly seven yards per rush. It's the amount of work Parker handles that impresses most, though.
"I think one game he actually carried 48 times, in the Pendleton County game," McClintic said. "He doesn't complain (about too much work). In fact, a couple games I took him out to try to give him a rest and he kind of complained 'What am I doing over here? I want to run the football' He has that mentality."
Parker reinforced McClintic's assessment of the running back's attitude.
"Whatever it takes to win," Parker said. "As long as we win, if we can all stay healthy, I could go for 500 (carries), if that's what it takes to win."