Friday night in Mesquite, Texas, two of the state's best running backs will clash for a shot at a state championship next week.
Aledo's Johnathan Gray and Corsicana's Cameron Washington, both seniors, will march their 4A DII squads on to the field after a season in which both have eclipsed the 3,000 yard rushing mark.
Gray has made such unfathomable yardage achievements commonplace in his four-year varsity career, compiling 10,425 yards and 183 touchdowns. This season, he's rushed 295 times for 3,435 yards and 59 touchdowns, and while the Texas commit has held the prep national spotlight, his state semifinal counterpart hasn't exactly been a slouch.
Washington has quietly put together one of the best rushing seasons in the state, carrying the ball 336 times for 3,045 yards and 45 touchdowns. He's coming off a 244 yard effort in which he reached the end zone three times to help his squad top Kilgore 42-21. The effort topped Gray's 199 yards and one touchdown, cut short by a controversial ejection for celebrating a touchdown in a 33-0 win over rival Stephenville.
Tonight's showdown will cap a memorable week for Gray, who was also named the Gatorade National Player of the Year. A third consecutive state championship for Gray and his teammates would cap one of the most memorable prep careers in Texas history. A shot at the first state championship of Washington's career would make just as much news if he and his teammates can unseat Aledo from the throne it has held for two straight seasons.
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