Rapid City Central running back Jeremy Weidman scored seven touchdowns Friday against Sturgis in the Cobblers 54-27 win at the Rushmore Bowl. It's not hard for him to pick his favorite.
He ran for four touchdowns, caught one and even passed for one, but it was his 98-yard kickoff return in the third quarter that stood out to him. He ran into the end zone by where his grandmother was sitting, and she is Weidman's inspiration.
His grandmother is dealing with lymphoma, and although its been hard for him, its also served as a motivating force for his play on the field.
"Being able to perform well in front of them has been fun. It’s honestly given her strength I’d say; and It’s a good thing for me because I can make my family happy through doing something like that," he said. "I texted her the other night and said ‘you’re my inspiration’ and she came up to me after the game and said ‘you’re my inspiration’ so that meant a lot to me, I just want to make her proud."
She, and the rest of the Cobbler family, had to be proud of Weidman's performance Friday in a win that ended Central's nine-game losing streak.
He finished the night with 20 carries and 133 yards and was 2-of-2 with 41 yards through the air.
"It felt awesome, the team had a lot of energy," he said. "All those long runs never felt tiring, the line made it look easy for me. They were having fun with it and that made me proud. They were doing all the hard work I’d say."
Central coach Erik Iverson said the gameplan going in wasn't for Weidman to score seven touchdowns, but he wasn't complaining.
"At the time it was ‘just keep feeding him the ball’ because that’s what was working," he said. "It wasn’t anything planned per-say, we just try to do those things every week, and he was what was working last week."
One of Weidman's touchdowns came on a reverse where he had the option to tuck the ball and run after getting it or throw a pass to wide-open Wyatt Jungclaus, if the play developed right.
The play did, and he was able to find Jungclaus for a 25-yard touchdown.
Iverson said the Cobblers had that play installed and practiced it all week, and although he said he wasn't nervous when it was called, Weidman admitted he isn't the best passer on the team.
"Our hope is that the guy is so wide open that all he has to do is flick it," Iverson said with a smile. "He plays baseball, so he can throw. It doesn’t have to be the prettiest, don’t worry about your spiral, just let the guy go get it."
His rushing touchdowns came from 16, 1, 21 and 5 yards out.
Despite being listed at 5-foot, 7-inches and 150 pounds, Iverson said Weidman is one of the toughest guys on the field. He is fast and shifty, but part of the reason he was voted a captain as a junior is because of his leadership and toughness.
That toughness extends to a metal rod that is still in his leg from a broken bone in eighth grade. Not only did he come back with the same physical skill set, but he also didn't let the injury impact him mentally.
"If we can get him a crack or a seem he’s real shifty, like a Barry Sanders type. He’s not really big, and he’s taken some really big hits this year, but he gets right back up," Iverson said. "He’s fearless, that’s part of the reason why he’s successful, he’ll go through things normal people wouldn’t even think of, but he’s got his speed and he’s pretty confident in his moves."
The Cobblers, 1-2, face Brandon Valley, 2-1, Friday at O'Harra Stadium. The Lynx come in as the No. 3 ranked Class 11AAA team in the latest South Dakota Media Prep Poll.
Weidman said he knows what people think will happen, but he also knows how powerful ending a nine-game losing streak can be on a team's psyche.
"I think the energy is huge right now and that’s super important. We’re definitely the underdogs right now on Friday night but I think we’re going to come out to play for sure," he said. "(Last Friday) was fun, it was a much needed win. I’d say everyone was happy. It’s a good group of guys to get a win with, they’ve been working hard all offseason long so it was definitely energetic."
Central and Brandon Valley kickoff at 6 p.m. Friday.
Other athletes considered:
Jordan Oster, St. Thomas More boys' soccer: Oster led the Cavaliers with four goals in STM's 6-1 win over Belle Fourche Saturday.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Oster has three goals and a assist in a 9-0 win over Sturgis.
STM, 7-1-1, faces Rapid City Central Thursday.
Anna Campbell, Lead-Deadwood volleyball: Campbell had a big game in a hard fought, five set win over Belle Fourche Thursday 25-15, 25-13, 24-26, 28-30 and 15-8.
She had 24 kills and eight blocks as the Golddiggers moved to 5-1 on the season, they face Spearfish tonight.
Lexie Wood, Rapid City Stevens girls' soccer: Wood found the back of the net three times Saturday in a 7-0 win against Sturgis.
The win moved Stevens to 5-2-1 on the season, it will face Belle Fourche Saturday.
Karlee Simmons, Hill City girls' cross country: Simmons paced the Rangers team win at the Chadron Cross Country Meet over the weekend with an individual win.
Simmons was 32 seconds faster than teammate Janean Hanka, with a winning time of 20 minutes, 3 seconds.
The Rangers are next in action at the Custer Invitational Thursday.