November 6, 2013

Neff no stranger to running back role

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


Chickasha's newest offensive weapon is no stranger to the ground game, despite lining up most of this season as a slot receiver.

It was common to see senior Daniel Neff taking handoffs before the Del City game on Oct. 25, but only when coming from the outside in before sprinting to the corner and turning up field. Now, he's fitting nicely into the backfield, lining up behind the likes of Josh Latham, who acts as the ideal battering ram when he's not carrying the ball. In two games as one of the main running options, Neff has racked up 170 yards, scored a touchdown, and averaged 8.5 yards per carry. But, you'd be hard-pressed to find him taking any of the credit.

"That's up to my line," Neff said. "They do a pretty good job, and really they get all the credit."

It's something Neff has had a long time to realize, since he's been lining up in the backfield from age four as part of Chickasha Mighty Mites football. Head coach Tom Cobble said the team has always known Neff had talent at running back, but he was put at wide receiver to compete the offensive set up.

"I'm so used to it and I know it," Neff said. "They just throw me at the slot because there's not any people left at that spot, and I can go anywhere."

Anywhere is about where he went last Friday against Southeast, when he recorded 108 yards, most of that in the first half alone. Neff said he wasn't aware of how many yards he had against the Spartans until he was informed on the sidelines after the Fightin' Chicks were well ahead. Even with so many yards, he was, understandably, reluctant to leave.

It was about the third quarter. Coach told me 'You've got about 100 yards, we're about to put some of the JV in,'" Neff said. "I was kind of mad, but it was whatever."

Now, Neff and his teammates embark on their last week of regular season football and their last chance to cement a playoff spot.

"You just keep a straight mind and go in with a positive attitude," Neff said about dealing with the nerves. "We can beat anybody. We've played with the best teams in the state and we've stuck with them pretty close. There's just been some mess-ups, some not."