By T. Scott Boatright
A dual-threat football player is a dream for most coaches and fans alike.
Being a dual-sport player makes it that much more fun for all.
That makes Ruston High School’s “Deuce” running back Dyson Fields — who wears jersey No. 2 — No. 1 in the minds of many Bearcat fans right now.
In last weekend’s 28-14 win over Oxford, Mississippi, at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Fields totaled 196 yards on 28 rushes with three touchdowns.
That was a week after Fields sliced and diced his way for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries while also showing off his receiving skills with a pair of receptions for 47 yards to boot in a game in which the Bearcats heartbreaking let get away to Neville late in the game by the score of 27-24.
Fields first made himself known when injuries to Ruston’s top running back duo from last year both missed playing time.
Enter Fields, who suddenly made the Bearcats’ rushing attack a three-headed monster.
That experience last year only fired him up more about this football season as the No. 1 running back, and says that’s been the key to his strong start.
“It’s really just been working hard at practice,” Fields said. “It’s always said that practice is supposed to be harder than the game. So it’s really our defense that’s helping me get ready.”
“I worked harder in the weight room and made sure I was taking care of my body, drinking the right stuff and watching what I eat.”
RHS coach Jerrod Baugh is pleased with his junior starter.
“He’s done well,” Baugh said. “I think being thrown into the mix last year when Bull and Tre got hurt,” Baugh said. “We planned to play him some last year and get him into things, but probably not nearly as much as what it turned into. But in the long run it’s helped him in as far as the experience he got last year against some really good football teams. He played the whole game against Acadiana, and made some really good runs against those guys.
“Last year, if you can push the ball some against those guys, then you get some good experience running against a good defense. But now he’s elevated his game. He’s one of the most physical runners I’ve ever been around in my 20-something years of coaching.
Fields’ playing time last season came after senior and well-established backs Ke’Travion Hargrove, now a Mississippi State Bulldog, and Deontre “Tre ” Griffin both missed time because of injury. Fields became a starter and had at least a share of running back duties the rest of the way.
But while Fields might be built a little more like Hargrove than Griffin, that doesn’t mean he’s a baby “Bull,” which Hargrove has been known as since being a young child.
“They’re two different styles of runners.” Baugh said of comparing Fields to Hargrove. “ ‘Bull’ had some really good breakaway speed. So if he got through the linebacker level, he could explode out of there and just outrun people.”
But Fields has made his mark with a different rushing style.
“Dyson is a little different, not that he doesn’t have any speed. But he’s way more physical as far as what he can do with the football. He’s good with his hands while he’s got the football. He uses some stiff arms, and he’s got a little lateral side-move that matches really well with being a physical runner. I think a lot of defensive backs are reluctant to get in there on him, so they have to sell out whenever they get ready to tackle him. And then he might run right through them.
“He utilizes both those abilities. He makes guys miss, and then sometimes he might turn back into them. That match is why he runs the ball so well.”
Fields admits there are some NFL stars he studies and tries to learn from.
“Mostly Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley,” Fields said. “I also like Derrick Henry. He’s where I get my stiff-arm from.”
He also learned from his fellow Bearcat running backs from last year’s team.
“Running behind those guys and learning from them helped a lot,” Fields said. “I still watch ‘Bull’ (Hargrove) a lot. I go back and look at film and watch how he ran, watch what he did, and it really helps me a lot. Tre, too. Tre was a good back, too, and I learned a lot from him.”
Fields is a standout baseball player, too, working to parlay that into the best college opportunity he can build.
“I’ve gotten into football way more the past year or two,” Fields said. “Sometimes the transition from getting out of football and into the baseball season is a little tough, but you can get used to it.”
“Actually, I’m talking to schools about maybe trying to keep playing both in college,” Fields said. “So however it works out. I just want to keep working hard and trying to be the best I can be.”
Baugh admits Fields’ hardball skills have helped him with the pigskin.
“I would imagine all of that stuff helps,” Baugh said. “That’s why I’m all for multi-sport athletes. I encourage that because things that you do playing baseball or basketball or running track, yeah, they all end matching. It’s a different ball and a different sport, but your agility and things that you do for one sport a lot of times matches that. So I do think his baseball stuff in the spring helps him running the football in the fall.”
Photo: REGGIE MCLEROY
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE