MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

July 17, 2014

Casey at the snap: Vian RB leads list of area’s top ground-gainers

Eric Casey knows what the measuring stick is for success for Vian.

It’s the Davis defense — the unit that for two consecutive years has stopped the Wolverines at the Class 2A semifinal round — with an assist from its offense in last year’s 56-39 shootout.

“Really sticking to my game plan,” he said. “Technique always comes in handy, making sure I read the right holes and do all the stuff I need to be doing right — really, just being a good running back for my team.”

OK, maybe the defense has to figure out the wishbone, just to give Davis a dose of its own medicine. But otherwise, Casey, considered by the Phoenix staff as the area’s top running back going into the fall, is right. The offense has to run on all cylinders just to keep up — and perhaps move past the obstacle that keeps Vian out of arm’s reach of a gold ball.

The 5-9, 160-pound All-Phoenix Small School Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 comes into his senior season off a 218-for-1,871-yard season, scoring 29 rushing touchdowns.

“He grew up last year,” Vian coach Brandon Tyler said. “He was a 160-pounder carrying 250 times and was very durable. He was fortunate enough to have some guys step up in the secondary which allowed him to go just one way.”

Casey was a return specialist. He served in that role as a freshman and became a starter in the offensive backfield as a sophomore.

Time in the weight room has made him stronger and, Tyler hopes, more durable — even while a matured quarterback in Rylee Simon and developing receivers will give the Wolverines a stronger passing offense.

“He’s pushing 170 and got stronger than he was. He hasn’t done a lot of speed work but he hasn’t run much since qualifying for the state track meet this past spring.”

Casey was a state qualifier in the 100 and 200 and also in the 400 and 800 relays.

He caught 7 passes for 146 yards. Those numbers should go up.

Others on our list:

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