NORTON, Va. (WJHL) – The Raiders were about as efficient as could be running the football on Friday night in a 51-16 victory over Twin Springs – and it all started with senior running back Trey Keys.
“You know, we didn’t really have a good season last year, so we just went in with a chip on our shoulder and executed really well,” Keys said.
A season ago, J.I. Burton won just a pair of games – the final two games of the season. But, on the back of Keys’ 235 rushing yards and five touchdowns, the team has already matched last year’s win total in 2022.
“I realized at the end, but during the game, I was like yeah, I’m in the moment,” Keys said of his career performance. ‘So I just had to keep going. I think we executed really well on both sides of the ball.”
There’s another word that begins with the letter “e” that head coach Jacob Caudill believes would best describe Keys and his performance.
“Electrifying – he’s got a really good burst of speed,” he said. “He can get going in a hurry and you know he’s really patient.”
“It’s almost like he’s going half speed and then all of the sudden he just bursts out and takes off,” Caudill continued.
That patience comes from the trust the senior has developed of the years with his offensive line.
“We hang out outside of school, in school, practice, after practice – we always hang out,” Keys said. “My best friends.”
“He gives a lot of credit to his offensive lineman,” Caudill said. “I walked in the locker room after the game on Friday and he was hugging his offensive lineman and thanking them.”
Keys appreciates not only his teammates, but simply the chance to be on the football field playing the game he loves. A string of injuries has kept the speedster on the sideline for the better part of the last two years.
“His sophomore year, first day of full pads, he broke his hand,” Caudill recalled. “Last year he had a concussion and was out for a couple weeks.”
Now, he’s back in a big way.
“It makes me play harder, feel free,” Keys said of his return to form.
“Just seeing him healthy and seeing him do the things we know he’s capable of is very exciting,” Caudill said.
And Keys believes there is more excitement to come, because the work has only just begun.
“It’s good, but we just have to keep working harder – I gotta keep working harder, keep coming out here everyday grinding with the team.”
The Raiders (2-2) have an open week on Friday and will return to action on September 30 against Eastside.