NORTH AUGUSTA — Sometimes it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, all that matters is what you do on the field.
In North Augusta, that’s exactly the case with the 5-foot-9, 140-pound DeVonte Pressley.
Last week against Nation Ford in the Yellow Jackets’ first-round playoff win, Pressley ran the ball a whopping 43 times for 256 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-29 North Augusta win to punch his team’s ticket to the second round.
“We needed it bad,” North Augusta head coach Dan Pippin said in reference to Pressley’s performance. “A lot of it was DeVonte on his own, it wasn’t a particularly strong game offensive line wise. They did well, but DeVonte did a lot of stuff after making people miss.”
The senior was nothing but complimentary of his line and his coaches.
“It felt good, all I can say is I’m thankful for the offensive line I’ve got and the coaches,” he said. “I’ve got the greatest coaches.”
Pressley credits his linemen for his massive performances throughout the year and allowing him to get more than 1,700 yards on the season and 16 scores on the ground.
“It’s pretty fun,” the soft-spoken running-back said about running behind his linemen. “On the field we crack jokes, but when the play starts it’s time for us to go to work.”
For his performance at such a critical moment, Pressley has once again been named Aiken Standard Player of the Week. It is the second time in four weeks that he has taken the honor.
“I think it’s hard to tackle him because he’s smaller,” Pippin said. “So he kind of squirts under people and it’s hard to see him behind those big kids we have up front. He makes some people look pretty bad.”
In game Pressley doesn’t tend to notice the big numbers he puts up. The fact that he is able to do it at a school like North Augusta, however, makes him feel an extra sense of pride.
“It feels pretty good, I worked to get where I’m at,” he said. “I’m glad I get to work with a bunch of hardworking people and the coaches love to see us work hard.”
Pippin stresses to his players to buy into the system and culture in North Augusta. Pressley personifies this as someone who waited for his turn, and as such he has become an integral part of the Jacket offense.
“Obviously it’s important,” Pippin said about Pressley continuing to play at his current level. “I think he’s the best running back around here. I think we’ll have the best running back next year too, but this is his year. He does well at stuff people don’t see, too, like pass blocking.”
When asked to compare Pressley to the previous running backs he’s had Pippin thinks that Pressley’s work ethic and patience have played major roles in his ascension into being a starter and successful player.
“DeVonte has worked hard at being good, he’s just waited his turn,” he said. “I was looking at the yards and carries from last year and our second team running back has probably double the carries that DeVonte had last year. ...I think it just says a lot about the kid that he waited his turn.”
As far as goals are concerned, both Pressley and Pippin look to take it week-by-week. The showdown that looms at Greenwood is one that will ignite frightful memories for the Jacket faithful, as it was two years ago that their season ended against the Eagles in the third round of the playoffs.
Of course, that doesn’t stop Pippin from thinking of what Pressley’s final stats could look like as a senior.
“...I sure would love it if he were a 2,000 yard rusher, that would probably mean that we have played another two games,” he said.
Scott Rodgers is a graduate of Alvernia University and a staff writer at the Aiken Standard.
Aiken Standard Player of the Week Winners
Reggie Preston, QB Ridge Spring-Monetta
Malcolm Stroman, QB Wagener-Salley
Jauveer Hammond, QB Strom Thurmond
Shaquez Wright, RB Silver Bluff
Nakeem Spann, RB Aiken
Dre Carr, RB Midland Valley
Jarius Jenkins, RB Williston-Elko
Trey Morgan, S/WR/QB/KR North Augusta
Adam Allen, RB South Aiken
DeVonte Pressley, RB North Augusta
Darius Hammond, RB Strom Thurmond
Malik Lee, RB Wardlaw Academy
DeVonte Pressley, RB North Augusta