MOULTRIE – How does one set two all-time records such as career rushing yards and total touchdowns for such a storied program as Colquitt County High?
It helps to be in the backfield from the first minute of the first game of your eligibility. It helps to have blockers who were of major college grade. It helps to have the dream of being the best.
Daijun Edwards is living that dream.
In no better setting than a battle of top 5 Class 7A clubs, the senior Packer running back broke both the school rushing record and touchdowns scored record. When No. 4 Colquitt County handily defeated No. 1 Grayson 31-7, Edwards left Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium with 3,875 yards and 60 touchdowns to his 3 and 1/2 year credit.
“It hit me after I actually broke the record,” Edwards said Wednesday after his team’s preparation for Homecoming and Alcovy High. “I’d like to thank God, my offensive line, everybody who helped me get to where I’m at.”
Both of those records were once held by Sihiem King, who starred on the 2014 undefeated Colquitt County state championship team and went on to play for the University of Kentucky. King had 3,787 yards and 59 touchdowns, and he had the attention of a younger Edwards, who was going through the middle school ranks at that time.
“He was a great back,” said Edwards. “I watched all the backs coming through. Tevin (King) too. I always studied them, see what they did … to get better.”
Tevin King, whose career ended in 2010, is in fact No. 4 on that all-time Packer rushing list with 3,356 yards and No. 3 in touchdowns with 50. His 376 yards on the ground is the school’s single-game record.
For Edwards, who played as a 9th grader beginning with opening day of the 2016 season, his career paralleled that of another stout running back, Ty Leggett. They split time in the backfield for the past three seasons, but Leggett was one year older and thus graduated after the 2018 season. Leggett’s name litters the record books as well, including No. 1 in touchdowns for one game (5), something both Sihiem and Tevin did as well.
“At first I had to adjust to being in the whole game,” said Edwards about how different this season’s been without Leggett. “I never really did that. It’s just something I had to adjust to.
“He’s a cool dude … a real good back.”
But every running back knows every yard they gain needs to be shared with a large group of teammates, large in number and large in stature. For the 2019 season, Edwards’ offensive line was almost completely rebuilt with one returning starter. In five games, he has 470 on the ground. Edwards can never forget, though, what the names Bell, Barnes, Rykard, Davis, Howard, Stokes and Brinson meant to his rushing exploits. Every one of those names had the opportunity to play college football (some still are or just getting started).
“I had some good lines,” he said. “My freshman year, that was probably my best line. My line right now is getting better. A lot of people are down on them, but I like them.”
As for blocking himself, Edwards said that may be the weakest part of his game, though he did pick up one pass rusher well last weekend.
It can’t be overstated that Edwards was a starting running back for Colquitt County High, coming off two state titles and 30 straight wins, as a freshman. It took him five games to get the first taste of varsity victory, and in the last two years he’s come close to his own championship.
“It’s all I wanted,” said Edwards about being a Packer. “My dream. Friday night lights, and I got to do it.”
With 60 touchdowns, what would be the most memorable? From a game-changing standpoint, that could be during the 2017 state playoffs at Walton. Walton loses a backwards pass to the Packers, and on the first snap deep in Walton territory Edwards gets the football and plows over the middle to score. Colquitt snatched away the lead for good as it continued to march towards the championship game.
“I remember that whole game,” said Edwards, stating that the initial plan was to keep the ball on the ground and try a field goal. Makes sense with Ryan Fitzgerald on the sidelines, but the Packers got more.
Edwards’ favorite, though, is No. 1. He also liked one against Trinity Catholic last season when he remembers breaking as many as five tackles. Then there was No. 60, a swing pass from quarterback Jaycee Harden that went for 48 yards on the Grayson Rams.
It was only his second career receiving touchdown, both of which happened this season.
Where will Edwards be for Saturday night lights? As of the first of October, he hasn’t committed to any college offer, and he has them, plenty of them.
“It’s a blessing that (the big colleges) are interested in me,” he said. They should be interested in someone on the verge of 4,000 career yards and with many more games to set a whole new bar for future Packer running backs.
Edwards, though, is more about winning games.
“Got to get to it,” he said about one more finals.