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Capo running well for unbeaten Rawlins Co.

Published on -10/15/2012, 10:10 AM

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QUINTER -- Atwood-Rawlins County High School junior Michael Capo played center in middle school. Capo said he "kind of slimmed up a little bit" and coach Deone Horinek issued a challenge.

"I want you to be tailback by your upperclassmen years," Capo said.

At first, it was a frustrating experience for Capo and Horinek.

Last season, the Buffaloes had two solid tailbacks in Blake Bergling and Kyle Ziegler.

However, Ziegler left the team during the year and Bergling suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Week 5 loss to Ellis.

Capo finished the season with 18 carries for 38 yards and a score. All but seven yards came in the final five weeks on a 4-5 injury-plagued Buffs' squad. He earned all-Northwest Kansas League honors when he led Rawlins County with nine catches for 173 yards and tied for the Buffs high with two receiving TDs.

"I was not used to playing tailback, and so he would get mad at me and he would yell at me and then last year, we had some good backs, so I played tight end a lot," Capo said.

This year, Capo has added 16 pounds and currently weighs 181 pounds. He can squat 465 pounds and has put up big numbers for 7-0 Rawlins County, currently ranked No. 5 in Eight-Man, Division I in its first season of eight-man football.

"I worked on strength a lot this summer, squats to get my legs bigger," Capo said. " "It's just helping a whole lot, because then I can break more tackles."

Last Friday, Capo ran part of the game from the single-wing Wildcat formation and finished with 24 carries for 181 yards and five scores in a 50-26 road victory versus Quinter. The win moved Rawlins Co. to 3-0 in District 8 play, while Quinter dropped to 1-2.

"He is a hard runner," Horinek said. "He is still trying to find his groove. He shows superb play, but we are just trying to get him more and more consistent, but he is going to be a heck of a running back."

Capo now has 141 carries for 853 yards and 14 rushing TDs, all team-highs. He bettered his numbers from the 14-12 home victory in Week 4 against Quinter when he recorded 19 carries for 97 yards and two scores.

"It just didn't seem like we were getting the shots on him that we did maybe the last time," Quinter coach Greg Woolf said. "I think maybe the last time we wore him down. We just weren't able to get clean shots on him like we did then, which is a credit to them. He did a good job in evading and I thought they did a good job of getting off the ball and getting into our linebackers."

Capo isn't the only Rawlins Co. player that has seen changes since junior high. Sophomore Rhett Mizer is just 140 pounds, but is arguably the Buffs' most athletic player. He was a tailback in middle school was supposed to play guard this season, but junior Cameron Ginther wanted to move to guard. Mizer has started at center.

"Ginther didn't want to play center, he wanted to play guard because he wanted to get off people," Capo said.

The bruising, multi-faceted offense delivered 466 yards of total offense, including 344 rushing.

"I liked going to tailback," Capo said. "It's way more fun than the line."

This year, Rawlins Co. has averaged 311 rushing yards per contest and will play host to Ness City, 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in Eight-Man, Division I in the statewide media poll on Friday. The Buffs are one of seven undefeated squads left in the classification, including five that are 7-0, according to preppowerindex.com.

"We have to be way more disciplined," Capo said. "We can't bite on fakes on defense. On defense, we have to cross the face of the defensive line. We've just got to get it up and run hard because we have nothing to lose."

Running hard is an area that Capo has improved in throughout the year. In the first game, he rushed for 61 yards against Wheatland-Grinnell. After that, Capo has put together games of 200, 131, 97, 94 and 89 rushing yards before Friday's big showing.

"I was trying to juke people and dance around and coach was getting mad at me," Capo said. "He was like, 'Capo, you can squat 100 pounds more than anybody, Why don't you start running them over?' I am just breaking tackles. It's so fun.SDRq

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