New Albany’s offense has several weapons, but none are more surprising than the rise of senior fullback Kelvin Worship.
Making the move from defense and taking the place of Eric Johnson, Worship has exploded weekly and is now the Bulldogs’ first 1,000 yard rusher since Jeremy Cannon in 2007.
“Going into the season, we didn’t know who our fullback was going to be,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said. “It was an open competition between Kelvin and Boston (Newsome), and Kelvin kinda got the nod in preseason practice because of his ability to pass protect. He picked it up real easy, and we put him out there the first game, and it’s been his ever since. He’s done an outstanding job taking care of the football, and he’s given us the hard, inside yards that we need to open the passing game.”
Worship has rushed for over 100 yards in five games so far this season, with his biggest game coming against Itawamba (162 yards), one of the few teams he faced on offense last season.
“Eric was so consistent last year, that Kelvin didn’t have much of a chance to play,” Price said. “He played a little on offense in the Itawamba game, but he was doing such a good job defensively last year, we kept him there. He came out day one this season, working hard for that job, and he’s earned it.”
Assistant coach Josh Davis has worked with Worship this season and has noticed several big changes in the Bulldogs’ offense, starting with pass protection.
“He’s improved our pass protection, and he’s also cut down on turnovers,” he said. “He’s had two turnovers, and it took him all the way until the fifth game before he had his first one. He runs the ball extremely hard, and he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do.”
Averaging 7.6 yards a carry, Worship is currently at 1,045 and is making a run at Cannon’s school record of 1,783 yards.
“I just thought that it was my time to step up at fullback, and I’ve been playing hard all year,” he said.
While he is excited about the Bulldogs in the playoffs, Worship knows he and the team have to stay focused on their opponent this week.
“This summer, we worked really hard to get where we are, and we’re still working hard. We’re going to practice for Tishomingo County like we have for any other big game we’ve had this year,” he said.
As far as the school record, he hopes the ‘Dawgs play long enough in the postseason to catch up to Cannon.
“I guess I’ll get it in the playoffs,” he laughed.
Worship is one of 21 Bulldog seniors who will be honored before Friday night’s game against Tishomingo County.