Friday Night Hero: A.L. Brown’s Antwoine Jordan
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS ó He’s not quite as thick in the arms, shoulders and chest as the state’s most celebrated running back, but decked out in Carolina blue shorts, 5-foot-7 Antwoine Jordan is a dead-ringer for West Rowan’s K.P. Parks.
“We were at a combine last summer and I was standing next to K.P.,” the 180-pound A.L. Brown senior said with a laugh. “People wanted to know if we were brothers.”
They aren’t related, but both are charter members of the brotherhood of stocky running backs.
Parks, one of the best the state’s ever produced, is a tenacious tailback who relentlessly pounds the rock 25-30 times every Friday.
Jordan can’t imagine carrying the ball so often. His career high was 18 attempts against Marvin Ridge in 2008. His high so far this season was 12 carries against Statesville.
Parks became a varsity star as a freshman, a superstar as a sophomore, a record-breaker as a junior and a legend as a senior.
As a sophomore, Jordan ran for an 8-2 jayvee team. He scored four TDs against Parkwood and three against Hickory Ridge. He scored a huge overtime TD against South Rowan and scored all 14 of the Wonders’ points against Sun Valley.
Jordan arrived on the varsity as a junior last fall, eager for carries. But even with Artrele Louis sidelined, Jordan was sandwiched between senior Johnathan Williams and super sophomore Travis Riley. Brown also had a quarterback in Jamill Lott who was as dangerous as any of the running backs. Jordan’s numbers ó 123 carries, 699 yards, 10 TDs ó were still pretty strong. He scored three of those TDs in the playoffs.
Jordan is a tough fullback with sprinter wheels, but his character has been tested as much as his skill as a senior.
All along, this was going to be his time, but Riley improved his speed so much over the summer he’s now a major-college prospect. Now Riley (90 carries, 790 yards, 16 TDs) is Batman.
Jordan, good as he is, is Robin. He has 61 carries for 441 yards and six scores.
That’s a dynamic that could be a problem, but Jordan hasn’t complained. He’s a mellow-natured fellow who keeps doing his job.
“We’ve had so many good guys running here,” Jordan said. “I’ve learned from all of them, including Travis. He’s a great back.”
Coach Ron Massey appreciates the teamwork. He’s had good tandems, including the Ryan Fowler/Bobby Ratliff duo that helped the Wonders go 13-2 in 2005.
“Nothing wrong with having two good backs, but it’s real important that the kids work together, and these two do,” Massey said. “The biggest improvement in Antwoine from last year to this is his blocking. He’s blocked hard for Travis.”
Riley had the flu last week. Xavier Stanback, a key backup, also was ill, so Jordan moved to Riley’s tailback position for the game against Central Cabarrus.
“I had to learn the tailback plays,” Jordan said. “Our QB (junior Martel Campbell) helped me out and the O-line pushed me.”
Jordan had a career game, rushing for 171 yards on 11 carries and breaking TD runs of 47 and 36 yards in a 45-0 victory. Riley was limited, but he got in there long enough to score twice.
After putting up numbers that were almost K.P. numbers, Jordan is now dreaming of a 1,000-yard season. His O-line believes in him.
“Antwoine runs very hard after contact, and he broke a TD for us Friday because he kept his legs going even in a crowd,” guard Tavis Bailey said. “You love to see guys run like that.”