When presented with the same scenario, South Forsyth's Jared Honey and North Forsyth's Bryson Trigg will take opposite approaches.
The differences between Forsyth County's most productive running backs this season can be summed up thusly: Honey will run through you, and Trigg will go around you. It's a difference in line with how football tends to divide tailbacks — power versus speed — and on Friday, when the two remaining teams with 2-0 records in Region 5-7A face off, spectators will be able to compare the styles directly.
Profiles aside, Honey and Trigg have both been statistical standouts in the county this season. Trigg has rushed for 771 yards on 119 carries, while Honey has 734 on 132, and both have scored 11 touchdowns.
Almost every other stat or measurable illustrates the players' differences, though. Honey is listed at 220 pounds, and this, his senior season, is his first as South's full-time tailback. He was the War Eagles' fullback before, blocking for players like Jake Nicholas and Davis Shanley.
The bruising, downhill running style comes naturally to Honey — "I don't think of what I'm going to do in a game," he said — and is the type of run that South's coaches know works best for him, but War Eagles head coach Jeff Arnette thinks Honey has gained a step in speed this season.
"Now he can run over you, or he can run by you," Arnette said.
Honey doesn't have any times to back that up, but he made a point to work on his speed during the offseason and thinks that his time in the 40-yard dash would be "significantly different" from what it was a year ago.
Trigg is currently listed at 180 pounds, and blocking is not the strongest point of his game. He remembers rushing to fill a gap during a late-game drive against Johns Creek last year: Trigg got to the spot, but was pancaked upon arrival by a rushing defender.
"I got creamed, big time," Trigg said.
He has the advantage, however, of being one of the fastest players in the county at any position. He ran a 4.47 40 this summer, and during the spring track season ran the 200 meters in 22.80 seconds. North's coaches try to put Trigg in zone running schemes, where he can hit whatever hole his offensive line opens, and occasionally put him out as a receiver.
And just as Honey has worked on getting faster, Trigg has worked on getting stronger, pounding protein bars and protein shakes and hitting the weight room. He said he's gained 15 pounds since last year, and he wants to gain more to put him in the type of shape that college coaches are looking for.
"Colleges are looking for heavier guys," Trigg said. "You can't have a running back walk on a D1 field at 180 (pounds) and think you're going to block a linebacker running at you at a 4.6 who weighs 230 pounds. That's not going to happen."
Honey and Trigg's imperfections haven't stopped them from producing this year, though, and both players have seen their successes benefit the rest of their team. The attention Honey draws for South makes War Eagles quarterback Cal Morris more dangerous, especially on options or designed runs.
"I think people having to pay so much attention to Honey is making everybody around him better," Arnette said.
The looming threat of Trigg, meanwhile, helps North quarterback Ben Bales spread the ball around the Raiders' deep receiving corps. The Raiders' offense has been as balanced as possible this year — 223 pass attempts to 223 carries — and in North's win over Lambert, three different receivers had 100 yards or more.
As far as the relationship between Honey and Trigg goes, there isn't much to note. Their race on the leaderboards hasn't made enemies of the pair, and they don't really know each other. That won't dilute the intensity of Friday's game, but off the field, it's all been cordial.
"I've heard about him," Trigg said of Honey. "I've heard people that do know him talk about him. He seems like a very nice guy."