Karan Higdon wasn’t always the cool kid on the block.
There was a point when the Riverview High junior running back wasn’t leaving defenders in his wake and scoring touchdowns with ease.
He was simply another player on the team — albeit the fastest one.
But, when you’re 5 years old and playing center, there are only so many accolades that come your way.
After quitting after his first day of football practice because it was too hot, a young Higdon returned to the gridiron the following day. Quitting simply wasn’t an option.
“My mom was a cheerleading coach, and she got me involved with the Redskins,” Higdon says. “I wanted to quit, but my mom told my grandma, ‘He’s a boy. He’s going to play football.’ And she dragged me back out there.”
Higdon gradually learned to like football and eventually fell in love with the sport after moving over two years later to the Palmetto Trojans, where he finally got to put his speed to good use.
“I always wanted to be a running back,” Higdon says. “It’s the cool position, and I was the fastest kid on the team. Plus, I like the hard work you have to put into it. You have no choice but to work hard because everyone sees you.”
Higdon’s talent emerged early on and only solidified as he got older. When he was 12 years old, Higdon scored six touchdowns against the Port St. Lucie Pirates.
“Every time I touched the ball, I scored,” Higdon says. “I feel like that was the best I’ve ever played in my life.”
Higdon joined the Rams as a freshman and, since then, he’s been working to become one of the area’s premier running backs.
Higdon injured his knee last season, which hindered him from putting up the numbers he had hoped. Now, with his knee fully healed, Higdon is hoping to have a breakout season.
“I feel like being a running back, I’m automatically put in a leadership position,” Higdon says. “I just want to be myself. If I play hard, then all of my dreams will come true.”
Riverview hasn’t been to the postseason since 2008, but Higdon is hoping to change that.
“It’s all about my team,” Higdon says. “The Rams are going to be on top. The old Rams are back, and we’re going to do some damage this year.”
Higdon already has garnered offers from several schools, but he’s still keeping his options open. But, one thing is certain: Higdon isn’t afraid to make a name for himself.
“I want to work for my title,” Higdon says. “I want to be the team that beats the championship team. I want to be a part of the team that shocks the world.”
— Jen Blanco, Sports Editor
To view more info on other teams, as well as scores, stats and video, click here.
BY THE NUMBERS
Riverview High School 1 Ram Way, Sarasota Mascot: Rams / 2012 Record: 4-6
18 — The number of former Rams players who have gone on to play in the NFL.
5 — The number of touchdowns quarterback Richie James accounted for in the Rams’ spring game victory over Southeast.
10 — The number of years it’s been since a Sarasota County school beat Venice. Riverview is seeking to change that
come the third week of the season.
Todd Johnson: Third year
On approaching this season: We’ve got guys who know the system better and are a step ahead. So, we’re building in the right direction.
On the new district: It doesn’t really matter who is in our district. We don’t worry about who we are playing. We just have to be prepared for Friday night. When I played, we were in a district with Manatee and Southeast, so it can get tougher.
On the lack of depth: We have a lot of guys who have played (varsity) ball and have experience. We’ve got some skill guys who can hopefully put us in a little bit more comfortable situations. But the guys behind them have a lot to prove. We’re going to need them to step up and fill in if need be.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
10 — Tony Rivers
Junior, wide receiver
44 — Sam Johnson
2 — Richie James
“He makes plays every time he gets his hands on the ball,” Todd Johnson says.
22 — Karan Higdon
Junior, running back
“He’s not only a great kid, but a great player,” Johnson says.
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