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Solid as a Rock
First he was a cornerback. Then a linebacker.
Now Yuma Catholic senior Ed Harris is the top running back in the area.
Playing three positions in the past three years for coach Rhett Stallworth's Shamrocks, Harris' final position was his most successful, as he racked up nearly 2,000 yards, helped the Shamrocks into the 2A state semifinals and earned the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2009 All-Region Offensive Football Player of the Year.
With Harris taking over at running back this season, Stallworth said he wanted to make sure Harris was well-rested this year. So instead of returning to defense as well, Harris played solely on offense.
"We didn't want to have to worry about him playing defense if we had to run him 30 times a game," Stallworth said. "We know he was valuable to our offense and we knew it would be tough to make plays without him, so we had to deal with it. We were fortunate we had some players step up on defense so we could run him into the ground."
Harris said the three positions in three years wasn't a big deal.
"I just played where I was told how I was taught to the best of my abilities," Harris said. "That's all I really did."
Stallworth said Harris' attitude is what set him apart from other players.
"If you're the star player, that opens up a lot of criticism from me," Stallworth said. "I always expect more from my stars. And he never complained, never said 'boo hoo,' was always 'Yes sir, no sir.' The fact we changed his position every single year and he never said a word speaks volumes to his character. It's not every day you see a player that unselfish that he sacrifices that much for the team."
Harris ran for 1,928 yards and 29 touchdowns as the Shamrocks made a deep playoff run, losing to Willcox in the round before the state championship. He also caught 11 passes for 272 yards and two scores.
"It shows we really grew as a team," Harris said. "We stopped worrying about what we'd accomplish as individuals."
Harris said he tried to put himself in the shoes of the running backs that started when he was a backup the past two seasons and tried to emulate both their success and their work ethic.
"I really think I improved from the last few years I played," Harris said. "A lot."
Stallworth said there is only one word to describe what Harris meant to the team.
"The only word I can think of is instrumental," Stallworth said. "We'd be a completely different team without him. He put points on the board and helped us pull away from people."