By John D’Onofrio<br><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">E-mail John</a>
LOCKPORT — Patience is not just a virtue, it’s a necessity right now in Lockport, where talented, explosive tailback David Fluellen has hit as many brick walls as he has holes so far in 2008.
An amazing 303-yard, four touchdown performance in a Week Two win at Niagara-Wheatfield has given fans only a taste of what the explosive junior tailback is capable of.
Last year, “Flu” rushed for 1,000-plus yards and 10 touchdowns, setting the stage this fall for what appeared to be another great season. But a young offensive line and two tough opponents in Section VI powers North Tonawanda and Lancaster have helped to slightly dampen his 2008 numbers.
“I know I have a very young offensive line in front of me, so, I’m just being patient,” said Fluellen, who’s already entertaining prospective colleges that include the University at Buffalo, Ohio State, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The comparisons to David’s older brother, Jhamal, are not only inevitable, they’re natural visually. Jhamal, David’s older brother, wore the same No. 32 and played tailback for the Lions in a varsity career that ended with his graduation, finishing as the school’s all-time leading rusher (3,591 yards 2001-03).
“David’s probably not as elusive and doesn’t excel out of his cuts as quickly as Jhamal did, but he’s stronger,” said Lions head coach Greg Bronson.
“He’s bigger right now than him and he’ll probably get bigger as he moves along in his career.”
David, who finished last week against North Tonawanda with 15 carries for 67 yards, now has 447 yards on 57 carries with seven touchdowns in three games this season.
A little more consistent blocking up front and Fluellen would be off to the races on almost every play
“We’ve got just one starter back on the offensive line from a year ago and the rest have had no previous varsity experience,” Bronson said.
“Even with David’s flashes of brilliance against good teams, you can’t win with just one player. The rest of the team has to come along and the defense has to come along.”
Speaking of defense, that’s another area Fluellen, a defensive back, has excelled at this year.
“David was consistently in the right position last week when NT ran their controlled option. He just didn’t get a lot of help,” Bronson said.
“He’s been playing better defensively the last few games than he did at the beginning of the year. I think he and a few other players were keyed up to play North Tonawanda and their interest level in the game showed that. We need more players to be like them.”
Fluellen, who said he wants to play college football and study criminal justice in college in 2010, said his present goal remains a grid playoff berth for the blue and gold.
“I’d like to rush for another 1,000 yards, but the most important thing is our team getting to the Ralph,” Fluellen said.
“To do that, we need to work harder as a team.”