Pickens' Perspective: Lofton carries Warde to win over Ludlowe
If ever there were a sure-fire bet, it was Devon Lofton for Warde MVP on Thanksgiving.
The Mustangs' running back had done what he did all year: light up his opponent.
The only difference was, after rushing for 248 yards and three touchdowns, catching a touchdown and even intercepting a pass in a 52-13 rout of crosstown rival Ludlowe, he actually got a shiny gold trophy to show for it.
"I just want to keep holding it," Lofton said while clutching the MVP trophy. "It feels good."
By their preseason predictions, the Mustangs had a mediocre 5-5 season. But Lofton's campaign was nothing of the sort. He scored a team-leading 15 touchdowns. He was-- more often than not-- the most dynamic athlete on the field. He could score from anywhere.
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He was Warde's great equalizer.
"His speed is fantastic," Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe said after the Thanksgiving game.
When Lofton was human -- as he was when he went down against Darien with a cramp-- it showed. The Mustangs earned a fat, 16-point, first-half lead with Lofton against the Blue Wave. They gagged it away in the second half without him.
Lofton was frustrated and the Mustangs were frustrated as what could have been a seven-, or eight-win campaign turned into a 4-5 record entering Thursday's contest with Ludlowe.
So a steady dose of Lofton made sure Warde at least finished .500.
On the Mustangs' first play from scrimmage, Lofton was stopped for a gain of one. Then he bookended his day with 79-yard touchdown runs. Lofton went untouched on both, each of which was a sparkling display of athleticism, but also showed his tenacious, hole-hitting capability.
He could have showboated and puffed out his chest.
Instead, he credited his offensive line.
"Blockers," Lofton said when asked what the key to his success is. "The big boys."
Lofton capped his high school career with a game for the ages, but DellaVolpe knows the graduating senior tailback's football career is far from over.
"His future is bright," DellaVolpe said. "Everything is ahead of him."
Whether that success is at the FCS, FBS or a lower college level, Lofton's athletic ability is a sure-thing.
Almost as sure a bet as his MVP was.