Whether he's looking for the open man on a basketball court or searching for a running lane on the football field, York Suburban's Isaiah Randall has 20-20 vision.
"His vision is among the best I've seen," Trojans' head football coach Brian Freed said on Wednesday afternoon at practice. "He's not the biggest back (5 feet, 10 inches, 152 pounds). He's not the fastest back. But, he has a knack for finding holes."
Randall is among a group of talented runners and receivers on Suburban's roster.
Jaime Nixon-Alark has the highest profile of the group, and deservedly so. Nixon-Alark averaged a first down per carry last season (75 for 747 yards) and 19.5 yards per reception. He's recorded a time of 4.4 seconds for the 40-yard dash.
"I don't know if you (an opposing team) can really zone in on Jaime," Freed said. "Marquese (quarterback Marquese Dillon) had 120 yards rushing and threw the ball really decently (in the opening game of the season). We also have Isaiah in the backfield, and we have a couple of receivers who are coming along really well."
Randall rushed for 81 yards on 15 carries in the Trojans' 28-21 season-opening victory over Susquehannock.
"I wouldn't mind being the center of attention, but I try to make plays when I can," he said. "Certainly, we have Jamie, but we have a bunch of different weapons. It all starts with the linemen, though, because without them, we wouldn't be able to do what we do."
Randall subscribes to the same team-first philosophy in his winter sport.
"Scoring comes second. First, you look for the open man and pass the ball," he said. "Being a point guard in basketball definitely helps me in football. In basketball, you have to find the open man. In football you have to find the right lane."
Randall said both his skills and work ethic have improved over the years.
"In the offseason, I hit the weight room, and I run a lot," he said. "Plus, I go 100 percent in practice."
Randall's knowledge of the offense allows him to help some of the other players.
"I think he might know the offense better than me, and I call it," Freed said.
Eastern York, Cooley looming: Randall and his teammates will open York-Adams Division III play on Friday night at Eastern York.
"That's a really big test for us," Randall said. "It will be Eastern's first home game, and they're going to be excited."
Playing Eastern means having to deal with the Golden Knights' blue-chip running back, Alex Cooley.
Cooley gashed Columbia's defense for 325 rushing yards last Friday night. He has more than 3,000 career yards and is on track to become the York-Adams League's all-time leading rusher.
"He has all the tools," Freed said. "He has good vision, and you can't tackle him with one guy. And, he's fast."
Freed doesn't think it's possible to take Cooley completely out of the game.
"You have to find ways to slow him down," he said. "Of course, one of the ways to slow him down is to keep their offense off the field."
Suburban's offense put up 362 yards against Susquehannock.
"At times, we executed really well," Freed said. "But, we have to execute a little better up front, and we have to hold on to the ball."
The Trojans committed five turnovers (four lost fumbles and an interception) in their first game.
"We have to limit our turnovers against Eastern, because every time we lose the ball, Cooley gets that many more times to carry it," Freed said. "We don't want to see that happen."
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin firstname.lastname@example.org.