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It’s looking like a bad case of deja vu for the Southwest Prairie Conference: Plainfield North has another running back filling up the stat sheet with some ridiculous numbers.
His name is Marcus Edwards, and if he reminds anyone of the Tigers’ last record-setting runner, Kapri Bibbs, there’s a good reason.
In fact, Bibbs took advantage of the bye week at Colorado State — where he’s one of the top rushers in the Mountain West Conference — to come home and watch his little brother play against Romeoville last Friday.
Bibbs and everyone else got quite a show. Playing in just his third varsity game, Edwards had 50 carries for 406 yards and three touchdowns in North’s 31-19 victory. For his breakout performance, Edwards is the Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
Edwards began the year on the sophomore team, but when a couple other backs went out with injuries, he was promoted to the varsity. He didn’t enter the Plainfield East game in Week 4 till the fourth quarter, but still gained more than 100 yards.
The next week against Plainfield Central, a 49-7 win, Edwards had more than 200 yards in two quarters before the Tigers went to their reserves.
But the stars were aligned on Friday. Edwards was clearly acclimated to varsity ball and the game was close enough that he played all of it. And of course, the leading rusher in North history — and his family — was there.
“I didn’t see him at first,” Edwards said of Bibbs, whose 4,210 career prep yards included a 520-yard effort against Oswego in 2010. “He came on the sidelines, it was one of those moments — it was hard to explain.”
Edwards saw all of his brothers’ games and soaked up all the advice he could, about how to make his trademark cuts, how to avoid fumbles (two hands on the football) and more.
And Bibbs taught his brother by example, too.
“Oswego was pretty tough that year,” Edwards said of the record-setting game. “I saw the will he had not to lose. That’s how I picked it up.”
He also has been fueled by doubters.
“I came in my freshman year ... there were people saying I would never be as good as him,” Edwards said.
It’s too early to say just how good the 5-8, 164-pounder will be, but he already has 721 yards on 80 carries in roughly seven quarters of varsity action.
“We knew he was going to be a really talented player,” Plainfield North coach Tim Kane said. “We just didn’t know it would happen this soon.”
Edwards’ physical gifts are apparent. But Kane said he’s also got the other half of the equation: “He is a really competitive, passionate kid.”
Some of that fire inside showed early this season when Edwards was bugging North’s coaches for a chance to play on the varsity.
“I was joking with them,” he said. “I didn’t think I would actually have the opportunity. The injuries started happening, next thing you know I’m on varsity.”
And next thing after that, he’s making headlines — just like his brother.