Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Player: "No idea I ran for 463 yards"

Cory Hunter's 463-yard night started quietly.

On his team's first offensive play, the Fuquay-Varina running back ran for five yards against Panther Creek.

But by the time the game was over, the junior had racked up 463 yards, the second-most rushing yards ever by an individual in a North Carolina high school game.

"I had no idea," said Hunter, who thought he had run for 300 yards but, along with everybody else in attendance, was informed by an announcement at the end of the game.

He passed Mike Hill, who had 461 yards for Harnett Central against South Johnston in 2003. Enloe's Greg Williams holds the record with 484 yards against Leesville Road in 2005.

What made the performance so special, Bengals coach Ryan Habich said, was Hunter's role on defense and special teams.

With some key defensive players out, Habich turned to Hunter and others to play defense. Hunter took about 35 defensive snaps and broke up what would have been a touchdown pass.

"I was just happy I tipped it away," Hunter said.

Hunter also came up with the ball when Panther Creek tried an onside kick with 57 seconds left. Fuquay-Varina held on for a 52-41 win.

Hunter broke off some big plays, bursting through holes his offensive line made in a bunched-up defense.

"They played pretty much 10 men in the box," Hunter said. "Once you got through those first couple of yards, there really wasn't anybody."

"He's a hard runner to bring down in the secondary," said Habich, who said he's never witnessed an all-around performance like Hunter's.

When asked if Hunter is scrutinized more than other high school athletes because his father is C.J. Hunter, the former Olympic shot putter who was suspended from the sport in 2000 for testing positive four times for a banned steroid, Habich said, "I don't think so." Habich said the running back is "a great kid and a great character kid. He's very humble."

According to news reports, C.J. Hunter told federal investigators in 2004 that he injected track star Marion Jones, then his wife, with steroids during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"I know everything he's done, and where he's been, the whole Olympics, but I don't think there's any added pressure on what I do and what he's done," said Cory Hunter, who said he trains with his father.

He said he doesn't feel more pressure than other athletes.

"Not at all," he said. "Just because of how unrelated the two sports are. ... I've never really had anyone say anything about my dad to me."

-- Raleigh News & Observer


panfan1 said...