All Carter Powelson’s life, he’s “been a runner.”
“Seventh and eighth grade, there was this stud running back on our team. He was just too good to compete against. His name is Tyler Bishop,” Powelson said. “He goes to St. Francis now…he was just a beast.”
So Powelson instead played defensive end through middle school. By the time Powelson entered high school at Geneva, Powelson was back at running back and also defensive end for his first two years.
As a junior last season, the varsity depth chart at tailback was stacked with seniors. Powelson’s best chance for playing time came at defensive tackle.
“I did OK, but I was just extremely undersized,” Powelson said. “I was only like 180 pounds, so I wasn’t a standout player, but I did alright.”
When coach Boone Thorgesen took the varsity reins at Geneva, the familiarity with Powelson and his skill set was already established. Thorgesen was Geneva’s sophomore’s coach for the last five seasons.
“When we had our senior meetings…he told me I was going to be their main offensive weapon,” Powelson said. “I was all for it. I was wanting to be running back last year and I actually asked for a little playing time [there]. [The previous staff] just kind of stuck me at fullback to do some blocking.”
Powelson’s emergence has, in part, made all the difference for the upstart Vikings (4-1, 2-1) who have thrust themselves into contention in the DuKane Conference this season.
Through five games, Powelson has rushed for 500 yards, and accumulated another 100 through receiving or special teams work.
Powelson was the driving force behind Geneva’s 29-26 overtime victory against St. Charles North last Friday, as he ran for 97 yards and scored two touchdowns.
“I’m almost speechless and it doesn’t happen all that often in this game because you see a lot of things on a week in, week out basis,” Thorgesen said after the win. “But you know what? Our kids, every week, they seem to amaze me and they amaze our coaching staff.”
Powelson is now hitting his stride.
“I think it’s really cool. I honestly didn’t think I’d do this well,” Powelson said. “Just because watching the running backs last year and seeing how hard it was to run in varsity games. I did work a lot over the offseason with strength. I’m sure that helps.”
“I lost probably 10-15 pounds and got a lot faster, too, so it’s just really cool I’m able to be really successful in this position that I love,” Powelson said.
His offensive line has helped make it happen.
“Obviously, our offensive line is doing great,” Powelson said. “…They’re all doing well. One [standout] for me is [senior right guard] Evan Avitia. He didn’t start his freshman, sophomore and junior year and this year, he was in the weight room every single day for three hours. He’s just doing really well for us.”
John Vendl doing whatever is asked for St. Charles North
John Vendl does whatever he’s asked for his team.
After two-way standout Drew Surges was briefly banged up a few weeks into the season, Vendl, a North Stars junior running back, just tried to replicate the success.
“I’ve learned from him. I’ve learned from all the seniors,” said Vendl, who also is listed as a cornerback. “…I really just had to do my role and be the guy.”
“With [Surges] playing both linebacker and running back, it’s really difficult for anybody [physically], so [coaches] want to divide it up and make it easier on everybody. They saw what I did and I proved myself to them and showed I could do a good job.”
The North Stars (2-3, 0-3) employ a bit of a running back by committee approach, with six players, not including quarterback Ethan Plumb, that get touches out of the backfield. Vendl, to date, has 224 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns.
Surges, through five games, leads all rushers with 304 yards on 53 carries.
Vendl played primarily running back last season after bulking up 35 pounds.
“I really love the position [and] getting the ball,” Vendl said.