LEXINGTON — Cade Stover has lined up at just about every offensive position at one time or another. Just don’t ask Lexington’s Ohio State-bound senior to play center.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Stover rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries and added 17 tackles as the Minutemen thundered to a 44-16 win over Mansfield Senior at Arlin Field on Friday.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Stover, who will play on the defensive side of the ball at Ohio State, has played a different position on offense each of the past three seasons.
He was used primarily as a receiver as a freshman and sophomore and moved to quarterback last fall. This year he is one of two talented running backs, sharing carries with junior Kaydan Berry.
So what is Stover’s best offensive position?
“Wherever I’m helping, whether I’m playing center or quarterback or tailback,” Stover said before quickly adding, “No, I don’t want to play center.”
Lexington trailed 9-0 after the first quarter before Stover and Berry took over. Berry jump-started the comeback with a blocked punt and recovery for a touchdown. He added a 9-yard-run late in the second quarter as the Minutemen (2-4, 2-1 Ohio Cardinal Conference) took a 14-9 halftime lead.
The third quarter belonged to Stover, who broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run with 10:39 remaining in the period. He added a 17-yarder less than two minutes later as the Minutemen scored 37 unanswered points.
“Everybody in the nation knows how good he is,” Lexington coach Taylor Gerhardt said. “He just decided we were going to win this tonight.”
Stover probably would have scored a third rushing touchdown in the third quarter were it not for leg cramps. Instead, he settled for a 66-yard run that resulted in Davis Hassman’s 23-yard field goal.
“Both hamstrings and both calves grabbed and I bit it,” Stover said. “Otherwise, I don’t think they would have caught me.”
As usual, Stover deflected the attention afterward. He was quick to credit Berry for turning the tide against the Tygers.
“He’s a spark plug for us,” Stover said. “When he plays good, we play good.”
The Minutemen have won two of their last three games after starting the season 0-3. That rugged stretch included narrows losses to Ontario (14-7) in the opener and Shelby (27-24) in Week 2.
How was Lex able to stay on course despite the tough start?
“The biggest thing is we’re good friends. That’s not cliche,” Stover said. “We like each other. Staying positive is easy when you get to be around people you like.”
The Minutemen are 2-1 in the OCC, tied with West Holmes behind league leader Wooster (3-0) and Ashland (2-0). Lex hosts West Holmes this week.
“It feels good,” Stover said of being in the hunt for the OCC title. “We look forward to coming to practice every day, win or lose. We’re going to keep grinding.”