At 5’8” 155 pounds, Nation Ford junior G’hari Page could be hard to find in a crowd, but even harder to catch on a football field.
Page, 16, has started to emerge as the Falcons’ go-to running back gaining 61 yards against South Pointe on 13 carries, a team he knows pretty well. Page transferred to Nation Ford from South Pointe over the summer and joined the Falcons knowing he was going to see his former team.
Page said getting ready to play against South Pointe wasn’t hard for him.
“It felt good,” Page said. “I knew I had to prove myself. I had to play better considering it was the school I use to go to. I knew what I was going to have to deal with running the ball.”
Never miss a local story.
Nation Ford, once a pass-happy, scoring juggernaut in recent seasons, has struggled on offense this year, scoring just 16 points in their first two games, including a shutout loss against South Pointe. A lot of the struggles came in the quarterback position, thus putting the onus on Page and the team’s other running backs to do more than that position was asked for in years past.
“He is getting the most carries right now,” head coach Michael Allen said about Page.
“He had a good game against South Pointe. We like the way he is running the ball. He brings a spark to the running game. He will remain in an impact role to our offense through the year.”
Page said he has tried to rise up to the challenge.
“I really don’t want any breaks,” he said. “I can take any amount of carries in the game.”
Page said he is doing what he can to make the most of the opportunity to showcase his talents.
“Right now, we are getting better,” he said. “It is going to help the team out more with our attitude and how we come into the game.”
Since the age of 7, Page has been playing football, starting off with the Rock Hill Cowboys, which has produced a lot of the South Pointe players including quarterback and Clemson commit Derion Kendrick. Page said that although he is in Fort Mill now, he looks back on his time with the Cowboys fondly and wants to carry on that tradition they have of producing good players.
“Playing with the Cowboys and us being good now, it will get people to look at the Cowboys as a legendary team and have more people to send their kids to play with the team when they are young,” he said.
Page has played both quarterback and running back as he has transitioned from team to team growing up, but said he enjoys playing in the backfield.
“I like making people miss and showcase what you can do,” he said. “I like to get people excited.”
Although he has two years left in school between this his junior year and next year, Page said he is hoping to catch the attention of college scouts and would like to see what Coastal Carolina University has to offer if he gets the chance.
Page said he has relied on some of the Nation Ford seniors like Eric Stroud to help settle in as a part of the team. He also credits running back coach Jamel Foster as being a big influence on him since arriving at the school.
“He tells me I need to go 100 percent all the time and not goof off,” he said. “We are in a good position to do something good for the rest of the season.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM
Falcons come back, but lose late
It was a story of two quarterbacks for both teams, but it was the York Cougars who came out on top over the Nation Ford Falcons 21-17.
Both teams went with a two quarterback systems. For York (2-1) it was planned, for Nation Ford (0-3) not so much. The Falcons started Dawaun McCullum in the game, but went to Ben Tuipulotu in the third quarter after McCullum threw two interceptions and got banged up, according to head coach Michael Allen.
Nation Ford could move the ball on the ground with McCullum and G’hari Page running the ball, but struggled with the pass early on. Tuipulotu started two series for the Falcons and led them down the field for two scores. He hit McCullum for a 51-yard pass setting up a six-yard touchdown run from Page in the third quarter. But Nation Ford lost hold of that momentum when York produced one final drive to win the game late. Game story at fortmilltimes.com