Following the school’s all-time leading rusher Fino Cardona is not an easy task, admits Qualynn Wells.
“It’s big shoes to fill,” Wells said. “But he talked to me and said he’s always supporting me.”
And in his first game as the Yellowjackets’ new feature back, the Boyd junior showed glimpses of what he will bring to the position. Wells averaged better than four yards per carry, racking up 111 yards and two touchdowns in the Yellowjackets’ 35-21 loss to Gunter.
“He ran hard the other night and had a couple of 20 and 30 yards runs,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “He never had that big run but it can happen at anytime.”
Wells was encouraged by his first game as the Yellowjackets’ feature back. Last year behind Cardona, he rushed for 379 yards and three scores.
“It went good. I was keyed on a lot. There’s always room for improvement,” Wells said. “That was a tough defense.”
While he is following Cardona, who amassed 4,600 yards and 64 touchdowns over his career at Boyd, Hopkins pointed out that Wells can’t look at it as replacing him.
“He’s got to be his own type of runner,” Hopkins said. “He understands his role and that he’s the main running back now. He has a chance to be a good player in his own right.”
While Cardona used his strength and agility to break tackles and pile up yards, Wells will rely on his blazing speed. Boyd coaches clocked him at 4.3 in the 40. Last spring, he made the state track meet as a sophomore, finishing seventh in the 2A 200 in 22.56.
“That’s a race mostly reserved for seniors,” Hopkins said about Wells’ state appearance in the 200.
In the open field, Wells doesn’t expect many people to catch him.
“Not many can keep up with me,” Wells said.
But while his speed is impressive, he’s also strong. He benched more than 300 pounds and squatted 500. He’s not shy about contact on the field.
“My main thing is my speed, but if I had to duck my head to get an extra yard, I’ll do it,” Wells said.
Now in the starting role, Wells wants to show he’s worthy of the spot and ready to lead the Yellowjackets back to the playoffs.
“I prepared all summer. I have to step up as a leader,” Wells said. “I have to step up and show I’m ready.”