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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Marcus Chatelain, Lambert
Lambert senior running back Marcus Chatelain, the 2017 All-FCN OffensivePlayer of the Year, poses for a portrait photo. - photo by Bradley Wiseman

Marcus Chatelain’s Lambert football helmet shows the damage of the 2017 season. Its red paint still has a glossy shine, but there are a few dull scratches. The longhorn decal on the left side is missing a horn.

Before the season started, Chatelain said that he was looking to get more time at running back to show his capabilities at the position. The senior had prior experience at the position, but he hadn’t been the Longhorns’ primary option, sharing carries with players like Justin Bruno and Brian Wright. He was also an important defensive back for the team.

And while 2017 wasn’t the Longhorns’ year, as the team went 3-7 and missed the state playoffs, it was certainly Chatelain’s.

The senior showed glimpses of explosiveness early on for Lambert, rushing for 179 yards on 22 carries against Cherokee and 102 on 11 carries against Wheeler, and by the second game of the region schedule, he was the Longhorns’ biggest source of offense and the most effective running back in the county.

Lambert running back Marcus Chatelain goes to stiff arm Milton's Lucas Moore on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. /// Photo by Ben Hendren
Chatelain racked up 829 yards over Lambert’s last four games of the year and showed remarkable endurance while doing so, taking 33, 43 and 33 carries, respectively, against West Forsyth, Milton and Forsyth Central. His season totals of 1,283 yards and 6.29 yards per carry were the best among county running backs.

“It was a little unexpected,” Chatelain said of the load he carried in 2017. “But I took it on, and everyone just held their own. I did my part.”

Chatelain didn’t play as much defense as he did last year, but he was still a two-way player for much of the season and had a tackle in his 43-carry game against Milton. Even so, the size of his workload wasn’t something that occurred to Chatelain during games.

“You don’t even realize you’re getting that many (carries) until after the fact, (when) everyone’s talking to you,” he said. “You just think it’s a regular game.”

Chatelain said that he preferred playing defense heading into the season, but his experience in 2017 changed his mind.

“I think I like offense more,” he said. “You set the pace. People have to react to what you do, and you try to outrun (them), do what you do better than what they do.”

Chatelain wants to play football in college, and he’s looking at FCS schools, like Cornell and Brown. If he were to join the latter, he’d be playing with two Forsyth County alums: Quarterback Richie Kenney, Chatelain’s old teammate at Lambert, and running back Sabrian Howard, a Forsyth Central alum.

The focus of Chatelain’s pitch to college recruiters is a predictable one: Toughness.

“I’m an aggressive runner, (and I) don’t go down easily,” he said. “Maybe not the fastest, but definitely not going to go down the first guy.”