One of Nashville’s biggest sports surprises at the midway point of the football season is Overton High School’s high-scoring Bobcats.
And perhaps the main reason for the latest Bobcat blast is the play of hard-running junior tailback Marteze (Tez) Humphrey, one of Nashville’s leading rushers.
Through Week 4, Humphrey has barreled his way for 641 yards and 14 touchdowns, both best in Metro Nashville. His 6.1 yards per carry average is also one of Nashville’s best, leading Overton (through last week) to a 4-0 record as the Bobcats take aim for the 6A playoffs.
If he maintains his per game average, Humphrey will hit the 1,000 mark by Game 7.
So, how’s Tez doing it?
“I just like to run hard and I just want to do what’s best for the team,’’ said Humphrey, who also plays some at linebacker on defense. “All the credit goes to the [offensive] line, those guys have been great at opening holes.’’
Humphrey is the picture of modesty when talking about his impressive rushing total for Overton, which is off to its best start since 2002. In that season, the Bobcats won their first eight games, went 9-1 in the regular season and finished 11-2 with a quarterfinal playoff loss to Hillsboro.
The Bobcats have already surpassed their total of last year in a 3-7 season and are averaging 35 points a game. Humphrey has scored 84 of the team’s 140 points.
Humphrey is the latest in a line of top-notch Bobcat backs in Coach Terry Anderson’s run-oriented offense, the most recent being tiny Daniel White two years ago.
“Tez has been outstanding,” said Anderson, whose team has a huge region home game with McGavock Friday. “It’s been a combination of things really. We’ve had great leadership at quarterback with Christian Dobbs, and our offensive line is so much better than last year. Three of those guys were sophomores, now they’re experienced juniors.’’
Humphrey says the success started a lot earlier.
“A lot of us have been teammates since grade school, and we’ve all stuck together,’’ said Humphrey, whose bulky 5-10½, 210-pound frame has enabled him to slash through enemy lines on a regular basis.
“Tez is a huge weapon to have back there,’’ said Dobbs, a senior. “You know with the way our O-line is blocking to go with his ability to read holes that he can break one at any time. He sees everything out there, how the play is developing and what cuts he needs to make.’’
With his charismatic and dedicated leadership, Dobbs is another reason the Bobcats are growling loudly.
“As the quarterback, I’m providing the leadership our team needs,’’ he said. “With the team we have, I expect us to be very successful and go far in the playoffs.’’
Humphrey began last season as a starter before getting injured.
“It was hard, watching from the sidelines when I knew I could help them,’’ said Humphrey who returned late in the season.
This season, he’s turned into a rushing monster.
Asked about his off-season work ethic, he said, “This summer, I attended a DI Football workout Camp at (University of) Oklahoma. I got stronger, and that really helped my conditioning. I’m in even better shape than last year.’’
Last year, Humphrey rushed for 725 yards and 10 TDs, totals that he appears certain to surpass this season. He lists Georgia, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt as schools he’s interested in before decision time next year.
Still, Overton’s sweet September followed a somewhat sour start.
Coach Anderson was so disappointed in his team during a preseason scrimmage that he made them run from the sidelines all the way behind the goalposts. Obviously, times have changed since then.
“This is probably our best team since the ’02 team that got to the 4A state quarters. The only team we lost to that season was Hillsboro, they beat us during the season 14-7 and again in the playoffs. We were pretty much better than everyone else in Nashville.’’
The coach mentioned players like 6-5 defensive end Dezmond Johnson, the top college prospect on the team, cornerback Chris Chapman, along with standout offensive tackles John Egger, a senior two-year starter, and junior Jaquelle Love.
Anderson’s 2004 team got to the second round of the playoffs before losing to White House. That was the last Overton team to win a playoff game as the ’05 and ’07 teams both lost in the first round.
“So far, it’s gone well,’’ Humphrey said. “We just all need to stick together.’’