By Chris Goff
Shane Rhodes is listed as a running back. He identifies as a wide receiver. And his coach says Rhodes is both and more. But position doesn’t seem to matter, because wherever Rhodes gets the football, it’s a good bet he’ll wind up behind the orange pylons for six points.
In an October 28 victory, the 5-foot-6, 150-pound junior football standout at Spring (Texas) Klein Collins High School pulled off an amazing feat. He scored six touchdowns on just nine touches in the Tigers’ 52-16 win over Houston (Texas) Westfield High School.
Far from simply cashing in at the goal line, Rhodes amassed a tremendous yardage total. He had 202 yards on four receptions and 105 yards on five carries. That amounts to an average of 34.1 yards per touch.
And, of course, a 66.7 percent chance of reaching the end zone.
“It’s instincts,” coach Drew Svoboda said. “He sets blocks up and reads blocks really well. He has a nose for the end zone.”
With the sound of Klein Collins’ 80-member Vuvuzela Crew echoing across Klein Memorial Stadium, fans watched No. 4 dart all over the field in his dark navy uniform and gold helmet.
“Any time I get the ball I want to score,” Rhodes said, “because I don’t know when I’ll get it again.”
Svoboda uses Rhodes all over the field, knowing how efficient Rhodes is with opportunities.
“His skill set covers such a wide range,” Svoboda said. “We’re trying to get speed in space.”
Rhodes can certainly run. In the spring, he qualified for the Texas University Interscholastic League Class 5A State Track and Field Championships.
In football, Rhodes’ favorite way to get a touch is on a deep pass that travels through the air.
“That’s when the track speed comes in,” he said.
Klein Collins won its final game to cap a 10-0 regular season. The Tigers face Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge High School in a playoff game Friday. Overall, Klein Collins sports a 23-1 record since Rhodes joined the varsity.
“He’s definitely played a big role,” Svoboda said. “He’s one of the leaders and sets an example.”
Rhodes admires Minnesota Vikings star Percy Harvin, another jack-of-all-trades dynamo who played both running back and wide receiver at the University of Florida.
“They put him at tailback, kick return, everything,” Rhodes said. “He does whatever his team needs, and I’m the same way.”
Rhodes followed up his school-record six-touchdown performance against Westfield with five touchdowns on 10 touches in the regular season finale against Spring (Texas) High School.
His amazing efficiency reminded some of a Longhorn State football legend, National High School Hall of Famer Ken Hall of Sugar Land, Texas. The National High School Sports Record Book mentions Hall’s “finest hour” as an October 9, 1953 contest in which he averaged 47.3 yards per touch on only 11 carries en route to seven touchdowns.
Rhodes, however, deflects attention from his scoring six times on nine touches.
“Half the time I get the ball, and there’s only one man to beat,” he said. “A lot of people think high school is about the athletes, but it’s really about the blocking.”
Chris Goff is a fall intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. He is a junior at Butler (Indiana) University, majoring in journalism (news editorial) and minoring in history.