Trevae Cain helped the Banks County Leopards to their first football victory since October 2012 in a 28-24 comeback win against Johnson on Friday night.
His play through two games is a major reason Banks County has optimism that won’t be the last time the Leopards prevail in 2014.
The multi-talented junior tallied 71 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the win against the Knights.
After three touchdowns in a 28-21 opening loss to Commerce, that means Cain has been responsible for six touchdowns in Banks County’s first two weeks of the season.
“I just try to do the best I can, try to go as hard as I can all the time,” Cain said.
The Leopards (1-1) host East Jackson this Friday in a non-region contest.
In addition to his running back and occasional quarterback duties, Cain is also a defensive leader from his outside linebacker position. His head coach, Biff Parson, has even playfully compared him to Georgia star running back Todd Gurley.
“I started calling him Baby Gurley,” Parson said. “Obviously, he’s no Gurley, but he has the potential to be very good. We’re going to ride his back a little bit.”
Cain and his teammates bounced back from a 14-0 halftime deficit in last week’s victory over Johnson. They’re hoping it’s the start of something even bigger.
“It helps us a lot because I feel like winning is contagious,” Cain said.
Cain started playing football when he was 10 years old but stopped for three years because his middle school didn’t have the sport. Parson said his junior standout is still learning and the coaches “really don’t know how good he can be.” He knows Cain has great potential, though.
“Hopefully each week we keep peeling layers and layers off,” Parson said.
The coach said Cain’s fast start to the season means he’ll draw extra attention. Parson has already talked to his other playmakers to emphasize the impact of opposing defenses’ adjustments.
“They’ve got to step up and make plays,” Parson said. “They’re going to continue to get those opportunities. We’ve just got to continue to take advantage of them.”
Parson said a prime example of Cain’s desire to help the team came on Friday when the Leopards faced a fourth-and-one play. At the time, Cain was so banged up that he could barely walk. The coach was about to put in a substitute for Cain, but then, Parson recalled, Cain wouldn’t go along with that idea.
“Give me the ball,” Cain said. “I’m ready. I’m going to get it.”
Parson said that mindset invigorated Banks County’s offensive line.
More often, though, Parson sees Cain showing leadership in a quiet, yet highly effective, manner.
“He’s going to show up,” Parson said. “He’s going to be here, but you’re not going to know he’s here. I’ve told our coaches, ‘He’s a quiet assassin.’ You look up and he has three touchdowns.”
Parson knows the value of a player like Cain both in the moment and in motivating younger players to reach such heights. That’s crucial in a program determined to make an 0-10 campaign in 2013 a distant memory.
“Those are game-changers in your program,” Parson said.
Cain knows he must maintain his current high level of play to help his team go for a region title and a playoff berth.
“Keep doing what I’m doing,” Cain said. “Don’t let up.”
Friday’s win also provided an important lesson for Cain and his teammates.
“If we come out in the first quarter and play as hard as we did in the second half, we should be OK against everyone we play,” Cain said. “We need to come off the bus with our minds right.”