GALION – The Knox Morrow Athletic Conference’s 2018 Player of the Year did not play in Week 1, and his coach said this week “there is no timetable set for his return.”
Northmor senior running back Conor Becker is currently recovering from a knee injury, coach Scott Armrose told Knox Pages. Becker led the KMAC with 2,134 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns last season, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He also played linebacker for the Golden Knights, where he ranked third on the team in tackles with 103.
Becker was named first-team All-Ohio in Division VI last fall.
Three running backs filled in for Becker during Northmor’s 43-0 win over Elgin last Friday. Senior Wyatt Reeder ran for 68 yards and one touchdown on seven carries. Freshman Max Lower ran for 14 yards on six carries, and sophomore Garrett Corwin ran for 46 yards and one touchdown on four carries.
The team has had to adjust roles based on Becker’s absence, Armrose said. Several players have learned to play running back and linebacker to fill in.
Reeder, who ran the ball just 10 times last year, moved from receiver/defensive back to running back/linebacker this offseason. Lower, just a freshman, has had to learn the running back and linebacker positions on the fly. Corwin, who ran the ball just 13 times as a freshman, has been asked to carry a bigger load offensively and defensively.
Senior quarterback Hunter Mariotti, who ran the ball just five times per game last season, “had a great off season in the weight room and is looking to run the ball more often as well,” Armrose said.
Armrose suggested more players might get involved in the running attack this week as well, when Northmor hits the road to take on Worthington Christian (1-0). Junior Tyler Boggs, who played JV last year, will likely take snaps at running back and linebacker.
“You can't replace a kid like Conor with one player, so it has to be a team effort,” Armrose said. “Our kids have done a great job adjusting and moving around to give us more depth.”
Armrose declined to comment on the specifics of Becker’s injury, or how long he might be out. Northmor will face local powerhouse Lucas (1-0) next week before beginning KMAC play.
Becker led Northmor to its best season in 2018, as the Knights won a school-record 10 games and won their first playoff game. He was also a key piece to the 2017 team, which made the playoffs for the first time in program history.
Listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, Becker is known as a fast, physical, patient rusher. He also led Northmor in receiving yards last season, as Mariotti would get the ball to Becker in the flat or over the middle and let his legs do the rest.
Perhaps most impressive is Becker’s ability to dominate big games. In Northmor’s win over playoff-bound Lucas last year, he ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns. In the team’s 15-14 win at East Knox, Becker scored both touchdowns, including a cold-blooded 20-yard sprint to seal the game late. Even in the Knights’ losses, to league champ Highland and state-bound Fort Frye, Becker carried the load.
Now, with their star running back and linebacker out indefinitely, the Knights will have to rely on a host of newcomers to fill his place.