WALTON — The Cass football team is packing a lot of memories into its season. The Kings raced through the regular season undefeated and picked up the Mid-Indiana Conference championship and the No. 1 ranking in the Class 2A state polls in the process. They followed with their first sectional championship since 1994 and they will look to add a regional crown tonight.

Garrett Segraves is one of the players at the heart of the Kings’ storybook season. The junior fullback has rushed for 1,438 yards, leaving him six yards shy of tying the Kings’ single-season record — and he already ranks as their all-time leading rusher. He reached the top spot in the final week of the regular season.

But, Segraves is way more interested in the Kings’ accomplishments than his own, and he quickly points to the offseason as the foundation for the undefeated season.

“We were pretty confident about having a good season like this,” he said. “We came in this summer and just worked hard. We thought if we just kept on working hard, we could keep on improving and we could have a good season. It just pays off in the end. We’re still working hard, too. We’re pushing each other in practice and making our team better.”

Cass coach Scott Mannering points to Segraves as one of the players who helps make the Kings’ offseason workouts so productive.

“Garrett trains himself as hard as anyone on our team,” Mannering said. “I know this summer he played on the Legion baseball team and in a basketball league, and yet he was still able to go to football camp with us and he didn’t miss a day in the weight room.

“He is not a real vocal kid, but he leads by example and you add that with a fierce competitiveness and a desire to succeed, it makes for an outstanding football player.”

Segraves is playing at an all-state level for the top-ranked Kings, who will take a 12-0 record into the regional round. He has carried the ball 207 times for 1,438 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns — and he quickly hands off credit to his offensive line and halfbacks Alex Evans, Justin Kloski and Clayton Mannering for their blocking.

“I have just been trying to run hard. The blocking really does it all I believe, and I just try my best to run hard and stay low,” he said.

Scott Mannering cuts through Segraves’ modesty and notes the junior is a complete running back who has the skills to fit in any offensive style.

“We’re playing him at the fullback position, and I think if we had him at halfback he’d have the opportunity to have bigger plays because he is very quick. But for our team, we want him in the middle because he will get more touches that way,” he said. “His vision is really good, too. He is able to see seams and gaps and make good cuts and he runs with a low center of gravity. He is always able to make yards.”

Eastbrook coach Jeff Adamson saw the same things when watching Segraves on film this week in preparation for the teams’ regional game tonight.

“He looks really good,” Adamson said. “He is kind of unique in that he has great speed on some of the plays he runs to the outside, and when he is running between the tackles he just hits the hole so quick. I think the thing we’re really impressed with was how many times he picked up yards after contact, either at the line or down the field. He just always seemed to get three or four more yards after being hit.”

Segraves averaged just 14 carries per game during the regular season as the Kings had several lopsided wins where the backups took the field in the second half. But, his workload increased in the sectional as he averaged 26 carries and 145 yards against No. 5 Heritage, Harding and No. 8 Churubusco.

“When we’ve had some tight games here in the sectional, he wants the ball in his hands, and if his number is not called he wants to be the guy to make the block to get someone free,” Scott Mannering said. “They say you have to find a way to win, and he will do it. I’ve seen him do it many times and in more than just football. He is a real competitive player who just keeps on coming.”

Segraves’ competitiveness shows in other parts of the game. He starts at safety on defense where he has delivered some big hits this season, and he is a special teams regular who averages 32.7 yards per punt and handles kickoff duties when the Kings want to try to place the ball. Overall, Segraves has a school-record 29 touchdowns — including two interception returns, one punt return and one kick return.

“From a [Cass] program standpoint, he is a key cog in offense, defense and special teams,” Hamilton Heights coach Steve Stirn said. “As you prepare to play them, you have to account for him in every phase. I don’t know if you necessarily game plan differently, but he takes you out of doing some things just knowing his presence is there. There’s no need to prove yourself wrong.”

Segraves burst onto the area scene as a freshman when he carried the ball 101 times for 711 yards (7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns to help the Kings record their first unbeaten regular season and finish with a 10-1 record. The Kings handed Segraves a bigger workload last season and he met the challenge as he carried the ball 174 times for 1,410 yards (8.1 ypc) and 23 touchdowns, and he had 25 touchdowns overall. He led the Kings to a 10-2 record.

“When he was younger, people talked about his potential and how this kid could be a great player. Well, now he’s proven himself a great player and he has evidence to back it up,” Stirn said. “In our league, he’s as athletic as anyone and he’s as dominating as any single player we’ve seen in the last two years.”

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