Cleveland running back Omarion Hampton cannot be stopped this season.
As for containing Hampton, a 6-foot-1, 221-pound University of North Carolina commit, his own coach, Scott Riley, might have the best chance — by managing Hampton’s minutes.
“You want to utilize him, but at the same time keep him fresh for the end of the year,” Riley said. “When you get up, you can rest him a little bit more.”
Hampton took his rest in the third quarter of Friday’s 50-7 win over visiting Corinth Holders of Wendell, which was previously unbeaten over two non-conference games. He left the game after scoring four touchdowns on runs of 40, 18, 8, and 7 yards. His 8-yard scamper with 1:51 remaining in the second quarter set Cleveland (4-0) up for a 36-7 halftime lead. Hampton’s 7-yard run with 11:09 remaining in the third led to a 42-7 count.
“He’s not just a big power back,” Riley said. “He can do a lot of other things as well.”
Hampton, a young man who speaks few words, projects volumes through his work ethic. He enjoys playing defense, and did some of that Friday, too. His nearly 20 yards per touch average extends beyond rushing and to receiving, too. Friday, Hampton corralled a short pass from Rams quarterback Skyler Locklear and covered 59 yards on third-and-13 in the second quarter. This play set up Locklear’s 2-yard quarterback keeper for a score at the 6:28 mark.
“My agility, I’ve been trying to work on that a lot during the offseason,” Hampton said of the 59-yard play. “I just tried to get what I had to get.”
Locklear, who’s also a college committed player (Austin Peay), padded his stellar season stats Friday, too, finishing with 307 yards through the air and a touchdown on 15-of-22 passing. The Rams’ fourth win of the season was also the fourth in which they’ve scored at least 50 points. They’ve outscored opponents 226-27.
Earlier this season, Hampton outscored Cary and Rose (Greenville) by himself, with four touchdowns on August 20, and three touchdowns on August 27.
But his high-scoring impact begins in the classroom. Riley noted that Hampton, a weight training student, is eager to take weight training voluntarily during the Spring 2022 term.
“If they see me doing it, they might want to do it, too,” Hampton said.
He’s also looking forward to the rest of the season schedule, which dives into conference play moving forward.
“I’m super excited because we’ll have more competition,” he said. “More competition is more fun.”