St. Martinville, Carencro play to scoreless tie; LaGrange dominates Comeaux _lowres

Advocate file photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Carencro's Tyriek Campbell prepares to collide with St. Martinville's Bryson Demouchet in an August jamboree.

CARENCRO — Carencro has produced quite a few sensational running backs.

Kevin Faulk, Theo Babineaux, Derrick Beavers and Alonzo Landry are just a few of the names that have lined up in the backfield for the Bears over the past few decades. Tyreik Campbell is making a strong case to be placed on that list.

“He reminds a little bit of John Bernard,” longtime Carencro coach Roland “Rip” Eveland said. “He’s not as tall and thick as John but he is a strong, strong running back. He’s physically stronger than most people. There are not many guys in this state that power clean 300 (pounds) and he can do that.”

Campbell has yet to cement his legacy like Bernard, the all-state honoree who helped Carencro to the Class 5A title game in 1996, but he appears to be on his way. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior enters Friday’s District 4-4A home game against St. Thomas More with 973 rushing yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry, and 11 rushing scores.

“When I first started to play varsity, there were a lot of expectations put on me,” Campbell said. “Last season, I finally got a feeling for being able to handle that. This year, I knew that I needed to have my team lean on me, so we can get where we need to be.”

After an injury-plagued junior season, when Campbell still managed to earn second-team all-district honors, the Bears running back decided to get stronger. The additional time spent this summer lifting has paid off for Campbell, who holds scholarship offers from Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Kansas State.

“He went back in the weight room this summer and really focused on getting his balance and his power in balance,” Carencro offensive coordinator Faulk said. “He’s shown a whole lot that he didn’t show last year, and its really paying off for him. He is a really confident kid in his running ability right now.”

Campbell has grown more confident in his role as team leader. The typically quiet player had to learn that sometimes he needs to be vocal.

“His leadership has really grown,” Faulk said. “He was a really quiet person. He didn’t want to talk too much or step on anybody’s toes. We told him that it doesn’t have to be a lot of vocal stuff said. You can still lead by example but something may have to be said. That’s what a leader does and understands.”

Added Campbell, “I am not really the talking type, but I actually had to fill that role. My role for the team has changed, since I first started playing. The rest of the team has been really inspired by that, and the younger guys have responded.”

Campbell is looking for the Bears to respond to the challenge this week when Carencro (4-2, 1-0) hosts St. Thomas More (5-1, 1-0), which is ranked No. 2 in the latest LHSAA Class 4A power rankings. STM defeated Carencro 56-21 last season.

“STM is a big challenge for us,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to do better than what we did last week and the week before that. That’s the only way we are going to win against a tough opponent. It’s not going to be handed to us. We have to put in the work to do it.”