You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Armon Tucker, Bradley West give Trinity football 'exceptional' 1-2 punch at running back

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 12/6/2019 Jason Frakes, Louisville Courier Journal
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

From Tim Phillips to Dalyn Dawkins to Donald Brooks, Bob Beatty has been blessed with exceptional running backs during his 20-year career as head football coach at Trinity High School.

But when it comes to tandems in the backfield, Beatty may have his best yet.

Sophomore Armon Tucker and junior Bradley West form one of the state’s best 1-2 punches and are big reasons the Shamrocks (12-2) have advanced to Sunday’s Class 6A state championship game. Trinity will face Male (14-0) at 2 p.m. at Kroger Field in Lexington.

a football player holding a baseball bat: Trinity's Armon Tucker (23) beat an Oldham County defender to score a touchdown during their game at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 22, 2019. © Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal Trinity's Armon Tucker (23) beat an Oldham County defender to score a touchdown during their game at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 22, 2019.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

“The rotation we’re using is exceptional,” Beatty said. “We’ve kept those kids healthy all year long by not taxing them with 25 and 30 carries every game.”

Tucker (5-feet-10, 165 pounds) has rushed for 1,164 yards and scored 26 touchdowns (23 rushing, three receiving). He averages 6.5 yards per carry. West (5-10, 175) has posted 833 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns (nine rushing, three receiving).

Together, they’ve helped Trinity average 198.6 rushing yards and 40.8 points per game. They also helped take pressure off junior Nathan McElroy, Trinity’s first-year starting quarterback.

Preview: What to know about the Male-Trinity matchup

“We get a two-man rotation going, and we’re at 100 percent every run,” West said. “You know you’re going to come out in two plays, so when you go in you make the most of those two plays. When I do really good, he wants to do even better. When he does really good, I want to do even better. It works really well.”

Tucker saw varsity action as a freshman but was stuck behind seniors Geremiah Smith and junior Carter Martin. With Martin moving to defense this season, the door was open for Tucker to be the featured back.

He hasn’t disappointed, topping 100 rushing yards in six games. He rushed for a career-high 217 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in a 41-0 rout of Cincinnati Moeller on Sept. 6.

Tucker, who moved from St. Louis to Louisville as a seventh-grader, is the faster of the two and has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He describes his running style as “one cut and go.”

Also: Schedules and matchups set for Kentucky high school football state championship games

“I can juke, but I don’t really choose to juke,” Tucker said. “And I really can’t run over people.”

Support local journalism a drawing of a face © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc.

Support stories like this one by becoming a subscriber today! Get unlimited digital access here!

West played quarterback as a sophomore but lost an offseason battle to McElroy to be the starting quarterback this season. Still, Beatty wanted West on the field and envisioned him in “a Julian Edelman role” to take advantage of his versatility.

West, whose father Wayne is Trinity’s running backs coach, started the season as a slot receiver before moving to running back. He describes his running style as “savvy.”

“I’m not going to outrun you; I’m not going to run you over,” West said. “But I’ll get my chunks of yards and make a couple of people miss here and there.”

Beatty said he’s comfortable running almost any play for both backs, adding he wanted to be “less scripted” with his offense this season.

a group of football players on the field: Trinity’s Bradley West (14) got a huge run against Oldham County during their game at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 22, 2019. His run set up a touchdown play. © Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal Trinity’s Bradley West (14) got a huge run against Oldham County during their game at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 22, 2019. His run set up a touchdown play.

So if it seems there’s little rhyme or reason to when Tucker or West is in the game, that’s by design.

“In the past we had scripted too much. I don’t think we were allowing kids to be athletes. What we were doing was creating robots. … There are times I don’t want to know who is in the game. If I call the play, we’re going to execute it, no matter who’s in there.

“Armon has a little bit more speed, but Bradley has some wiggle. He has that real quick dead leg that can make you miss. And he’s a lot stronger than what people realize.”

Tucker had some success in the 20-17 regular-season loss to Male, carrying 27 times for 108 yards but not reaching the end zone. West had just one carry for 1 yard.

Read this: Q&A with Trinity football coach Bob Beatty

The Shamrocks entered that game with a 4-0 record and – West hinted – perhaps a little too much confidence.

“We’d had some success beating down some teams,” West said. “We came into that, and we knew we were going to have a battle. I’m not going to say we weren’t ready, but we hadn’t experienced (a close game). We didn’t play as well as we wanted to, but we still hung in there. Hopefully if we get to the top of our game we can come out with a win.”

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @kyhighs. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/jasonf.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Armon Tucker, Bradley West give Trinity football 'exceptional' 1-2 punch at running back

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Louisville Courier-Journal

Louisville Courier-Journal
Louisville Courier-Journal
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon