For any running back to even be associated with Hall of Fame performer Herschel Walker is pretty special.
Stephens County's Chaz Thornton can go one even better than that, however. And the Indians senior can now say he's accomplished even more than the Heisman Trophy winner and Georgia legend -- at least at the high school level.
Thornton's 42-carry, 174-yard performance in last week's 23-7 victory over Eastside pushed the Stephens County standout over 6,000 career yards and past Walker's achievements for Johnson County High School.
The performance, which also included a touchdown, also propelled Thornton to 1,402 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. Most importantly for Thornton, however, was that it helped the Indians to seal a state playoff berth in Region 8-AAAA.
For his efforts, Thornton has been named the Gainesville Jaycees Player of the Week.
Access North Georgia.com sports editor Morgan Lee recently caught up with Thornton to talk about his big night, Stephens County's current campaign and what the playoffs may bring. To watch a video presentation with Thornton, simply click "play" below.
Thornton is far from the Indians' only threat on offense -- quarterback Dionte Mayfield (1,222 yards passing, 12 TDs) and receiver T'omas Colbert (1,056 yards receiving, 11 TDs) have forged a deadly connection in the passing game. But certainly Thornton's reliability and willingness to be a workhorse -- the senior is averaging 25 carries per contest -- has been a cornerstone of Stephens County's resurgence into the postseason. Thornton is also quick to praise the play of his offensive line and fullback DK Dooley (even insisting he be included in the interview linked above), and the group has proved formidable indeed.
After starting 0-4, the Indians stumbled in back-to-back losses to 8-AAAA's top seeded teams in Chestatee and Monroe Area, but Stephens County picked itself up and charged back into the playoffs courtesy three straight victories. The Indians are gunning for the No. 3 playoff position and will travel in the first round -- where it's a safe bet that the opponent will be aware of just what Thornton can do to opposing defenses.
Each week this football season the Jaycees will team with Jacobs Media to present a Player of the Week award. At the end of the season, the Jaycees will also present a Player of the Year award, as well as name a recipient of a $2,500 scholarship to the most deserving senior.
2012 Gainesville Jaycees Players of the Week
WEEK 1: Tyler Hubbard, quarterback, Banks County
WEEK 2: Gainesville defense
WEEK 3: Bryant Shirreffs, quarterback, Jefferson
WEEK 4: Quan Clark, running back, Chestatee
WEEK 5: North Hall offensive line
WEEK 6: Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Gainesville
WEEK 7: Daniel McCrary, quarterback, Lumpkin County
WEEK 8: Cedric Harris, running back, Johnson
WEEK 9: Will Brock, quarterback, White County
WEEK 10: Chaz Thornton, running back, Stephens County