By SCOTT TYLER
BETHEL — Traylon Shead carried three defenders on his back as he converted a third down, getting the ball inside the 10-yard line.
It was the Class A, Division II state championship game and Shead, not at full strength, had picked up a critical first down and a few plays later, scored the touchdown that sealed the state title.
“One of his best carries of his career came on one of his last plays in high school,” Cayuga head coach Traylon Shead said.
It may have only been fitting that Shead scored the final two touchdowns of the state championship game. Shead, the Dogwood Circle Offensive Player of the Year, put together a stellar four-year career which culminated in state records and a state championship.
“What Traylon accomplished in his career is so special,” Allison said. “He deserves all the accolades that he has received.”
Shead finished the season with 2,696 yards on 287 carries and 43 touchdowns. It was the third straight year he rushed for over 2,000 yards. In his career, the University of Texas committee at the top or near the top in several state high school records. He set the career touchdown record with 146 and the career games with 100-plus rushing yards with 44 games. He also is second all-time in career rushing yards with 10,291 yards and became only the second player in the history of Texas high school football to go over the 10,000-yard mark.
“For Traylon to have those records is so special,” Allison said. “But Traylon will be the first to say that he could not have done any of it without his teammates.
“That is just the kind of fine young man he is and the way he was raised.”
Shead battled injuries and loads of attention from opposing defenses, but he still managed to earn his second straight Associated Press Class A Offensive Player of the Year.
“What Traylon did was remarkable,” Allison said. “With all the pressure and attention on him, he overcame it all and had a wonderful season.”
His final game may have been the most remarkable one of all. Shead pulled a hamstring in warmups before the start of the state championship game. While there was a question among the coaching staff if he would play, there was no question in Shead’s mind.
“Before the game started, we were in limbo,” Allison said. “But Traylon got in front of the team right before the game and told them he would be ready to go.”
Despite only being what Allison called 70 percent, Shead rushed for 144 yards and scored three touchdowns.
“He showed the heart of the champion,” Allison said. “That is the way he has been all four years here.”
Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org