Numbers don’t lie, and in this case, they suggest two of Texas’ best high school running backs will be going head to head Friday night.
Stephenville’s James Myles (258-1,671, 28 TDs) and Aledo’s Johnathan Grey (237-1,888, 37 TDs) have combined for 3,559 yards and 65 touchdowns on the ground this season. They are both adequate receivers out of the backfield (Myles - 40-427, 3 TDs; Grey - 20-421, 8 TDs), combining for another 848 yards and 11 scores. Rushing and receiving combined, the two workhorses have amassed a total of 4,407 yards of offense and 76 TDs through 11 games.
That’s more than 2.5 miles. And 456 points.
But while the spectacular results may be similar, Myles says he and Grey have different ways of getting there.
“Johnathan is more of a shifty type of guy with a lot of speed. I’m more the power type. I like getting into a tackler and lowering my shoulder on him,” Myles said. “People have told me if we could combine our strengths it would really be something special.”
Myles also says he has nothing but the utmost respect for Grey, who he had the opportunity to meet during track season last spring.
“He has a lot of talent,” Myles said. “There’s no telling how far God can take him. I respect him as a young man and as a running back.”
But Myles says his heart tells him Stephenville will win on Friday.
“I know in my heart we put more hard work, more blood, sweat and tears and more passion into it than (Aledo) or anyone else,” Myles said. “Play longer, finish stronger. That’s something I’ve learned to follow since I’ve been here.”
And as he finishes each run stronger than before, Myles is quick to deflect any and all credit, first to his faith in God, then to the Yellow Jacket offensive line.
“I just want to give thanks to God and give him all the glory. He gives me the ability, and I enjoy doing it and have a passion for it,” Myles said.
Concerning the offensive line, the junior who already owns Stephenville’s single-game and single-season touchdowns mark and could end Friday’s showdown as the school’s single-season rushing leader, says, “I tell them all the time how much I love and appreciate them. I just run north and south, they do all the hard work.”
And no matter how grand a stage Cowboys Stadium may be for the 4A Division II area championship game, Myles says he doesn’t care where the game is played.
“I don’t want to disrespect any Cowboys’ fans, but I’m an Eagles fan,” he says with a laugh. “It will be nice to play there, but it doesn’t mean much to me. I just want to beat Aledo. I don’t care if it’s (at Cowboys Stadium) or in a parking lot. I’m just ready to play.”