Nov 20, 2013 10:17 PM by Bill Halter

The Braves "Three Headed Monster"

In 1922, Notre Dame had a dominant backfield nicknamed "The Four Horsemen." A trio at Lompoc is showcasing an unrelenting rushing attack which has earned them the moniker, "The Three Headed Monster." It's a name made official by Santa Ynez head coach Josh McClurg after the Braves rushed for 432 yards and 8 touchdowns against his Pirates. "Not too often do you have at one high school, three all league caliber running backs" said Lompoc head coach Andrew Jones about senior A.J. Florez, junior Derrick Portis and junior Austin Hayes.

Jones has seen his share of talented runners during his four years as Braves head coach. Marcel Blow, Jordan Collins, Lavon Coleman, Taylor Cornejo and Nikko Hayes have all gone over 1,000 yards in a season playing for Jones. "They're right up there to be honest with you" said Jones referring to Florez, Portis and Hayes. "Their productivity is better than all of those and I think it all starts up front with the offensive line. We've had the past four years, some pretty good offensive lineman come through here."

In 11 games, Portis has rushed for 1,325 yards. Florez has 1,251 yards on the ground. Despite missing the first two games because of an injury, Hayes has 746 rushing yards and might be able to go over the 1,000 yard milestone if Lompoc can make a deep run in the Western Division playoffs. "I don't think anybody has ever heard of that. 1,000 yards for three running backs, so it would be a great accomplishment for us" said Hayes.

"The Three Headed Monster" is a fitting nickname because Florez, Portis and Hayes are all about the same size. Florez is 5-9, 180 pounds. Portis is 5-9, 160 poinds. Hayes is 5-8, 160 pounds.

Coach Jones calls the plays in through his running backs and usually he just has one of the "Heads" on the field at a time. "I'm not looking at what number I'm calling in the play with, I'm comfortable with all three of them" said Jones.

Playing one out of every three plays on offense allows the runners to play full time on defense. Florez is a linebacker, Portis and Hayes are safeties. "I like it a lot, it works as far as I can see. I like having a break" said Florez.

Florez is averaging 9.13 yards per carry and has scored 18 touchdowns. Portis is gaining 10.19 yards per carry and has scored 21 touchdowns. Florez is averaging 12.86 yards per rush and has scored 12 touchdowns. "When we break one we're all happy for each other but when we get together it's like, it's my turn, it's my turn" said Portis.

"The Three Headed Monster" will need a big performance on Friday night as the Braves (10-1) host Santa Monica (7-4) in the second round of the Western Division playoffs.





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