Hunter Delaney has been patiently waiting for his breakout game his senior year.
Last Friday’s 34-28 homecoming win over Daniel Boone, he got it.
The Morristown West Trojans executed as a unit for the win but Delaney was the force offensively they leaned on the whole night. The running back finished with 164 yards on 20 carries and rushed for a career-high three touchdowns in the win, along with averaging 8.2 yards a carry.
“It felt great to get the win and get going as a back,” Delaney said. “I knew I had to get it done and step it up a notch. I have to give credit to my boys on the offensive line.”
After a junior year where he posted four 100-yard rushing games in the first five contests, he was hoping to do the same his senior year. Unfortunately, it has been a slow start for him and West to get their ground game going as of late.
The Trojans have seen different faces in their offensive line almost every week due to COVID protocols, which have made it a struggle to get everyone on the same page on the line.
The 24-14 victory over Hardin Valley led by Delaney’s 126 yards on 28 carries looked as if it was the game to break the rushing attack open, but then came David Crockett and Greeneville.
Delaney only managed to pile up a combined 101 yards against both state-ranked opponents but never counted himself out.
“I’m a play-by-play kind of guy,” he said. “I never let anything get to me. I just move forward to the next play. I’m out there to do the running.
“We had a rough couple of weeks leading up to (Boone) but we all kept composure.”
He followed the rough outings with one of the best games of his career as a Trojan with his 164 yards and the most rushing touchdowns by a Trojan since Jacob Harrell scored four against Cherokee in 2017.
Delaney is now sitting with 493 rushing yards and four touchdowns this season through the first five games and is feeling good about where he and his team are.
“I’m feeling good now,” he said. “I think we are all in a good mindset. I think the whole team, and myself, are ready to get out there and get some more wins this season.”
Last season, he rushed for 1,015 yards while averaging right at 127 yards per game. With Cocke County, Tennessee High, Carter, Cherokee and Jefferson County left on the schedule, Delaney will look to exceed what he did last year.
There’s plenty of time to do so but it could be a challenge as he’s taking on bigger roles with West’s balanced offense this year.
Delaney has transformed himself into one of West’s’ best pass blockers as well as adding a little bit of receiving to his game.
“His pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield has been outstanding,” West coach Alvin Sanders said. “He’s had a couple of rough games running the ball but we have to look at what he has done for us outside of that.”
So far, the back has five catches and 31 receiving yards—all out of the backfield.
Sanders said Delaney is a teammate that isn’t going to worry too much about his numbers but will do whatever he needs to do to help the Trojans succeed.
This kind of attitude from the star running back has molded him into the leader he is today.
“I know Hunter is capable of leading this team,” Sanders said. “He’s a humble kid. He’s never worried too much about himself but more so his whole team. Our guys look to him to lead.”
Delaney continues to stay focused as a leader and as the go-to guy for the Trojans as the season moves forward. He will look to repeat, or come close to repeating, his performance from Week Five against Cocke County this Friday on the road.