TJ Runyan (copy)

Mid-Buchanan junior running back T.J. Runyan avoids Hamilton earlier this season at Alumni Field. Runyan scored three touchdowns in the Dragons’ 35-0 victory.

FAUCETT, Mo. — After making the switch to offense, Mid-Buchanan junior T.J. Runyan is making a difference on the Dragons’ football team.

The running back has rushed for 582 yards with 12 touchdowns so far this year. Three of those touchdowns were scored last Friday in Mid-Buchanan’s 42-0 win over Plattsburg (3-4). Runyan scored three touchdowns the week before in the Dragons’ 35-0 victory over Hamilton (4-3).

“He’s pretty dang fast. When he gets out in open space, he’s pretty hard to catch,” Mid-Buchanan head coach Aaron Fritz said.

Speed isn’t the only thing getting Runyan into the endzone. He has 21 catches for 329 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Runyan said his team’s strong passing game and successful blocking has helped him find more running lanes.

“My offensive line has been doing good on their blocks,” Runyan said. “I haven’t been touched most of the time because they’re doing really good.”

The 16-year-old didn’t play running back last season, but instead focused on the cornerback position. However, Runyan had no problem adapting to the offensive-side of the ball this year.

“He’s a really high effort guy playing corner and he brings that high effort over to offense,” Fritz said.

Runyan remains playing cornerback this season when the Dragons are on defense. He has 15 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions this season.

“We move him around and put him on the best receiver a lot of times and he likes that challenge of defending the other team’s best player,” Fritz said.

Runyan said he spends a lot of time in the weight room when not he’s not on the field.

“He works his tail off. He does all those little things that you want all your guys doing and he doesn’t talk about it; he is about it,” Fritz said. “I hope he wants to keep working and I think he will because he’s a competitor.”

The Dragons are 6-1 heading into their matchup against West Platte (1-6) on Friday.

“I feel like we’ve all been doing good so it’s a team effort on how well we’ve been playing,” Runyan said.

Kristen Carver can be reached

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