The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

October 24, 2012

MIKE MASTOVICH| Portage sophomore nearing 1,000th yard

JOHNSTOWN — Portage coach Gary Gouse isn’t always so sure about where Caleb Kephart is headed on the football field.

It’s a safe assumption that the end zone won’t be far away once Kephart gets his hands on the ball though.

“Nobody knows where Caleb’s going,” Gouse said of his star sophomore left halfback. “Honestly, I watched some of his runs, and he’s so explosive. When he gets the ball he just goes.

“He’s really gifted. He’s only in 10th grade and he sees the field so well with his eyes and he’s so quick. His brother (senior right halfback Cody Kephart) does a great job blocking for him and so do the other linemen and backs. It’s hard blocking for him downfield because you just don’t know where he’s going to go. He’s so hard to bring down. You think he’s down but he’s not.”

Caleb Kephart is closing in on 1,000 yards.

His 939 so far for the 7-1 Mustangs is even more impressive because Kephart has needed only 72 carries.

“I’ve coached for a long time and he’s one of the top-3 runners I’ve had as a sophomore,” said Gouse, who has 157 wins in 22 seasons.

Caleb Kephart began the season with three carries for 22 yards in a 13-10 victory over North Star, the coaches’ preseason pick to win the conference. Since then, he’s had 100 or more yards each week, with 414 yards and six touchdowns in the past two weeks against Windber (226 yards, three touchdowns in a 32-0 win) and Conemaugh Township (188 yards, three touchdowns in a 41-7 win).

“When he was in seventh grade and eighth grade my junior high coaches would say, ‘Coach you’ve got to see this guy run. He’s exceptional.’ He ran so many kickoffs back in junior high. It was ridiculous,” Gouse said. “I can see why now. He just goes. He’s a humble kid too. He’s quiet. he doesn’t say a lot. He likes playing and he’s having fun.”

Freshman fullback Luke Dividock has 536 rushing yards, and senior quarterback Evan Price has 382 rushing yards. Also in the mix are junior back Scott Giles (247 yards) and Cody Kephart (242 yards).

Last week the Mustangs nearly had three 100-yard rushers while collecting 445 yards on the ground.

“We’re doing some good things,” Gouse said. “The kids are believing in the system and themselves. We’ve come a long way. We’re very young.”

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