The 80-yard touchdown runs are nice, as well as the flashy one-yard goal-line leaps. But any true running back will say that the most satisfying gains are the five- and six-yard carries that occur when an opposing team just knows the run is coming.
ForBalboa’s Soloman Webster, those gratifying runs are finally starting to mount.
Webster, the Buccaneers’ senior running back, has always the possessed the physical attributes to be one of the premier running backs in the AAA (as evident by his 900-plus yards last year in six games) but the 2006 campaign has seen his evolution from a talented player capable of big plays, to a dependable workhorse who can carry an offense.
"We’ve always had high expectations for Soloman," said Coach Keith Minor, whose Buccaneers are 2-4 this season, including 2-1 in AAA. "He’s been a little banged up in the past, so I think it was helpful for him to go into this season healthy. He’s really proved how much he means to this offense."
Minor believes the defining point of Webster’s season came in Balboa’s third game of the year, a 13-12 loss to Oakland Tech, in which the Buccaneers missed a number of short third- and fourth-down conversions that could have sustained drives deep in Tech’s territory.
Heading into today’s key showdown with Burton, (who share the Buccaneers’ 2-1 AAA league mark) Webster has already racked up 802 rushing yards, more than any other back in San Francisco, but for Lincoln’s David Henderson.
"My line has been great," said Webster. "They open up the holes for me, and I follow their lead and try to get as many yards as I can on each carry."
Webster, who has averaged an impressive 6.6 yards per carry to go along with 12 touchdown runs, (including 10 in three AAA games) has always been a silent leader who let his play do the talking, but now, as a senior, he has taken the opportunity to be more vocal among his teammates.
"I’m not the kind of guy who is going to cuss out his teammates or get frustrated with other players," said Webster. "I want to keep my composure and maintain a good attitude. A lot of these guys depend on us as seniors, and I let them know they can count on me."
While he still may not be an in-you-face screamer, Webster has quietly asserted himself as the Buccaneers’ team leader.
"In the past, Soloman has usually deferred to teammates," said Minor. "He was always the Robin to their Batman. Now this season he sees that he has to be the man, that he has to be Batman, and I really think he’s starting to embrace that role."