Marcus Lemoine has made the most of his chance as Elton’s No. 1 running back. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:18 AM
ELTON — Before the football season began not many people knew who Marcus Lemoine was. The junior-to-be at Elton High School had served his time on the field for the Indians, starting as a sophomore with most of his reps coming at wide receiver and defensive back.
Lemoine was forced to wait patiently as Micah Lavan, an all-state performer at both running back and linebacker, consumed the glory, but this preseason Lemoine answered the call to take over at running back and hasn’t looked back since.
“Marcus played a lot of receiver last year,” said Elton head coach Doyle Carter. “We used him a little bit at running back, but he mostly played receiver and defense. We knew all along that Marcus would eventually move to running back, but we had Micah Lavan the last two years. It was good, though, because he needed to mature a little bit, and he is more than ready now.”
Lemoine started the season with a few solid performances and a 256-yard outing against Delcambre before bursting onto the scene in Week 4 with a state-high 331 rushing yards and four touchdowns against new District 4-1A rivals Grand Lake. In the three games since he has rushed for 747 yards and six touchdowns, bringing him to a season total 1,509 yards and 16 TDs on 181 carries.
His total ranks him No. 1 in the state, averaging 215.6 yards per game and 8.34 yards per carry.
“Marcus has got great vision and the speed to be able to break away, but once defenders make contact he is able to keep pushing forward for extra yardage, and a lot of backs just don’t have that,” Carter said. “I know whenever I call his number, we will always have a chance.”
Senior Scott Ross went down in Week 2 with a knee injury, and wasn’t the only Indian bitten by the injury bug. Carter said Elton hasn’t fielded the same starting offensive line more than once seven games.
Thanks to the abundance of injuries, opposing defenses have been able to scheme to stop Lemoine, but to no avail.
“Opposing teams have been putting seven or eight guys in the box to try and stop Marcus, but credit to our offensive line for helping handle it and Marcus for running so hard,” Carter said.
With his prominent role in the offense has come another job title for Lemoine, that of being a team leader. The role, usually delegated to the quarterback in most situations, is one that the junior has taken with pride.
“At the beginning of the season we had a bunch of people go down with injuries, so everyone started to look to me,” Lemoine said. “I was already having to fill some big shoes replacing Micah Lavan, so I have had to step up big.”
Being the state’s leading rusher and the team leader has been no easy task for Lemoine, and fortunately Lemoine has someone to talk to that has been in a similar situation before — his first cousin and Grambling State starting running back Cedric Skinner.
Skinner is best known in Southwest Louisiana for his exploits at Oberlin, where he rushed for a state record 3,437 yards and 47 touchdowns in his senior season when he led the Tigers to the Class 1A state semifinals.
“After I have a big game, I talk to him and he always tells me to keep doing what I am doing,” Lemoine said. “I have asked him how he handled all the pressure and how he dealt with it in Oberlin and he helps me out with it.”
While Lemoine admits to being caught up in a family competition and hoping to top Skinner’s rushing totals, he is focused on finishing the season strong and achieving his goals.
“I plan on rushing for 2,000 yards and hopefully even more than that, and I am hoping to be all-state this year,” Lemoine said. “I want finish this season with a winning record and coming back next year faster and stronger, and have another winning season. After my senior season I plan on going to college and playing and hopefully one day make it to the next level.”
Lemoine will look to extend his lead atop the state rushing list this week when he and the Indians (3-4, 2-2) travel to Creole to face the South Cameron Tarpons (2-5, 1-3).