By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- Demetrus Yates has been waiting for his opportunity.
The Warren County senior watched and learned last year as Timmy Green racked up a lot of yards as the Wildcats' starting running back. With Green graduated, Yates knew he needed to step up and so far this season that's exactly what he has done.
"Last year I took the reps I needed to take in practice," Yates said. "And once I got out there I just did what I learned and put it all in play and took what I got."
Yates, the Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 1-7, ran for 223 yards against Brentsville on Friday with two touchdowns. He also had an interception in the Wildcats' 37-14 win.
While he's already shown how solid he can be at tailback, Yates said much of his success has come from what he's learned from assistant coach Mike Ford and Green.
"Last year I was more of an east-west runner, and I noticed how Timmy would cut it up and put it up in the hole and I've learned to do that this year with some of my runs," Yates said. "I can still be elusive and juke, but at times when I need to, I can cut it up and get some extra yards."
Yates had 96 yards rushing in the season opener against Skyline, but said he knew he could do even better.
He said last week he worked hard in practice to have an even better game against the Tigers.
"I just knew I had to come out and show what I had," Yates said. "I felt like Brentsville week would be the perfect opportunity, and I went out and did it."
In the dominant victory over the Tigers, Yates did something he hadn't done before -- score a touchdown at the varsity level.
"It's amazing," Yates said of scoring two touchdowns. "Probably one of the best feelings I've ever had. You hear the crowd behind you, and just knowing you help put your team on the board -- it felt good."
Yates is in his second year as a starter at cornerback, where he had four interceptions last season.
He added another one to his career total on Friday, and said he almost returned it for a score.
"I just dropped back into the coverage, coach set up a good defense, and I knew that they would come out with a tight end pass eventually," Yates said. "And I sat back and I just waited for it. He threw the ball and it came right to me, and I just took it and ran with it. I had good blocking down the sideline. I thought I could break it, but eventually I got pushed out of bounds."
Yates' play early this season for the Wildcats hasn't surprised Warren County coach Tony Tallent.
"He runs so hard and he's got good vision and he's really explosive," Tallent said. "I think he's the kind of runner that sees the field, and that's a tribute to his coach Mike Ford, and I know coach Ford works really hard with him and all the backs about making the right cuts and trying to expand the backs' vision."
The Wildcats lost 21 seniors to graduation, but early in the season have shown that the program is still going strong.
Yates said he feels good about this year's team and what they can accomplish.
"We know each other. We've grown up playing football with each other and that helps a lot as we go on the field," Yates said. "We know what each other can do and how we can play. In the long run that should help. I feel comfortable with every single person we have on the field."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd