Male Athlete of the Week: Sherando’s Myers breaks out for career game

D.J. Myers Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – D.J. Myers’ role as a featured running back at Sherando High School was a long time in the making, something that the senior had been looking forward to for quite some time.

“I’ve been talking about it since I was out there watching them in middle school,” Myers said Monday.

Now in his third varsity season with the Warriors, Myers is getting his first shot at that coveted role.

Last Friday night against Eastern View, Myers showed just how effectively he can spearhead Sherando’s rushing attack. The senior carried 43 times for 238 yards and three touchdowns – all career highs – as the Warriors rumbled past the Cyclones for a 42-21 Homecoming victory.

For his effort, Myers is The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 13-19.

“I was just in there, in the game. Never thought I was gonna have a big game like I did,” said Myers, who scored all three of his touchdowns in the first half to help his team build a 28-14 halftime advantage. “My line told me that I was gonna have a big game and everybody around me told me that, and we just went out there and executed.”

Myers’ career performance was made even sweeter for the senior as it came one week after he didn’t see the field for unspecified reasons in Sherando’s win over Washington (West Virginia). Myers also sat out the Warriors’ first offensive series against Eastern View before entering the game on Sherando’s second possession. He carried six times on the nine-play scoring drive – including the final four plays of the 76-yard march – before finding the end zone from 2 yards out to tie the game at 7-7.

Myers said after practice Monday he was “hungry” to get back out on the field and contribute.

“The greatest motivator we’ve got is the sideline,” Sherando coach Bill Hall said. “… It’s no fun when you’re watching. Obviously I think there were a lot of factors this week that were probably behind him wanting to do that. But again, we expect that every week whether he was playing the week before or not. … Every time we give him an opportunity he’s been very successful.”

Myers’ longest run last Friday night came in the second quarter with Sherando trailing 14-7 after Eastern View’s second straight touchdown drive. Facing second-and-4 from the Cyclones’ 42, Warriors quarterback Patrick Minteer handed the ball off to Myers, who patiently worked his way up the field behind the right side off the Warriors’ offensive line. Myers then flashed his speed and jutted out toward the sideline, where he raced to the end zone for a 42-yard score.

“I just did my steps. Coach told me to go slow on my steps. I went slow and then I didn’t see the hole, and he says when you don’t see it, you know, bang or bounce. And I was like OK and I just bounced and scored,” Myers said.

The senior running back said his biggest strength is his explosiveness in his cuts, and Hall added that Myers runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, making him dangerous when he gets out on the edge. But Hall also said Myers shows good patience out of the backfield, a trait Myers said he picked up as the understudy to former Sherando standouts George Aston – now a fullback at the University of Pittsburgh – and LeeQuan Johnson Jr.

Having a workhorse running back isn’t a new concept at Sherando – Johnson carried nearly 300 times for the Warriors in 2014 – but at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Myers said he put in extra work in the offseason in order to better prepare himself to “fill in some shoes” left by Johnson’s graduation. Hall said people shouldn’t get too used to seeing Myers carrying the ball 40 times a game, although the coach added he was impressed by Myers’ durability.

“We’ll have to see how it lasts up over a season, but what he did is he did a great job in the offseason in terms of strength and conditioning, so you’ve put yourself, your body in a position where you can handle that,” Hall said. “Now obviously I’m not under the impression that he can handle 40 carries every single week, nor do we want him to do that, but it was a game situation where he was going well, things were working well for him. He showed he could handle it.”

In all, Sherando rushed for 301 yards and five touchdowns on 60 carries in the win over Eastern View and had only one designed running play go for negative yardage. Myers said he was “totally impressed” with the play of the Warriors’ offensive line, and Hall added that the line is continuing to get better.

“I think that the line’s improving every week, we’re just searching for that consistency every play from all of them,” Hall said. “We’re getting closer to that, so that shows up in (Myers’) results. But the exciting thing is – should be for him and for them (the offensive line) – is that we’re not there yet. We see a lot of room for improvement.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com