Magazine junior high football coach Dakota Suttles normally likes to spread the ball around offensively, but with fewer options going into the game against undefeated Hector, Suttles placed the load of the running game on the legs of freshman Chakong Yang.
“We had a few key players that usually share the carries with him but they were unable to go,” Suttles explained. “So, he was challenged to be the guy, and he showed up in a big way.”
Yang shredded the Junior Wildcats’ defense for 305 yards rushing and five touchdowns to lead the Junior Rattlers to a 38-24 win in the its season finale on Thursday night at Linton Stadium in Hector.
“My offensive line blocked really well for me,” Yang said. “And, I was able to see the field really well, too.”
The win put Magazine (5-4, 5-1) in position to claim a share of the 2A-1 Conference junior high title if Hector beats Mountainburg in its season finale on tonight (Thursday, Oct. 27) at Dragon Stadium in Mountainburg.
Magazine’s only conference loss was against Mountainburg, and if Mountainburg loses to Hector, that would create a tie for first place.
“He’s played great all year,” Suttles said. “He’s put us in a position for a share of the conference championship if Hector beats Mountainburg on Thursday.”
Yang logged 25 carries and averaged a gaudy 12.2 yards per carry and broke off runs of 35, 45 and 65 yards.
“He ran powerfully, but his vision is what helped him,” Suttles said. “He cut up field for a few long runs.”
It might have been the season finale for the Junior Rattlers, but Yang isn’t done just yet.
He is one of a handful of freshmen who were called up to the high school team for the remainder of the season.
In his senior high debut on Friday night, Yang didn’t disappoint either, running for 115 yards and a touchdown in the Rattlers’ 41-14 2A-1 Conference loss to the Hector Wildcats.
“It was pretty good,” Yang said of his back-to-back big rushing performances.
Magazine has a bye this week and will finish the regular season on Friday, Nov. 4, when the Rattlers travel to Conway to play the Conway Christian Eagles.
The Rattlers (3-5, 2-3) enter the bye week in fourth place, a half-game ahead of Mountainburg (2-5, 1-3) and Johnson County Westside (1-7, 1-3).
The top four teams advance to the state playoffs. Conference co-leaders Bigelow (7-1, 4-0) and Conway Christian (6-2, 4-0) have already clinched a playoff berth.