By Stafford MSD Communications
The ball is snapped and the opposing defense is stacking the box.
The quarterback hands the ball off – and instead of three yards and a cloud of dust – it’s “23 yards and wow, did you just see No. 3 for the Stafford High Spartans elude four defenders?”
Meet Stafford High senior running back James Brown, Texas high school football’s master of extending the play.
“My tackle-breaking ability,” Brown said, “comes with the mindset of not stopping my feet. I’m looking where the defensive players don’t think I’m looking.”
One person who’s not surprised with Brown’s ability to miss tackles is Stafford running backs coach Chad Jones.
“He works on spin drills every day in practice and perfects his moves,” Jones said.
Right now, the 17-year-old Stafford senior is looking at a second consecutive trip to the playoffs. The Spartans (6-4) will host Houston Worthing (5-5) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Spartan Stadium in the UIL Class 4A Division I Bi-District Playoffs. Stafford has won its last four opening round playoff games.
“James has had a great season,” Stafford head football coach Ron Counter said. “He’s been running hard and breaking tackles.”
Brown, who earned a Class 4A state championship ring last spring by running a leg on the 4×100 and 4×200 relays for the Stafford High track team, is eager to add another ring before he graduates from SHS in June.
“We went in expecting to win the state championship in track,” Brown said. “We had won the Texas Relays earlier in the year, and many of the same teams were there.”
He entered the week second in 12-4A in rushing yards (1,098) and rushing touchdowns (11) and eclipsed the 2,000-yard career mark during a 44-7 win over Sealy on Oct. 21. He accomplished that feat in two seasons.
“When I’m running the ball, vision is the most important aspect,” Brown said.
So how does the 5-foot-10, 177-pound running back continue to improve? He constantly works on his game and enjoys watching game film of legends like Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders, as well as his third cousin, current Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
Brown is a multi-talented athlete who is capable of catching the ball as well. He entered the week tied for third in 12-4A in touchdown receptions (five) and ninth in receptions (22 for 339 yards).
Texas Southern and Defending SWAC Champion Alcorn State has offered Brown scholarships, and Division I Football Bowl Series (FBS) schools such as Nevada, Texas State and Texas Tech have expressed interest.
Brown, who was born in Southern California, is open to all options but did mention he is very interested in Nevada, which runs a similar offense to the Spartans.
A running back since age 6, Brown has enjoyed the close-knit, family atmosphere at Stafford.
Although the NFL is his ultimate goal, Brown understands the importance of academics and has twice been selected the Stafford Spartan Academic Player of the Week. He’s considering careers in business and/or broadcasting.
Those honors have meant just as much to him, if not more, than the multiple times that he’s been named Offensive Player of the Week.
When it comes to his 2,000+ career rushing yards, Brown is quick to credit the people who line up in front of him.
“Without the offensive line, nothing is possible,” Brown said.