Lawrence Co.’s Eley has strong work ethic

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2000

MONTICELLO – Junior fullback Johnathan Eley of Lawrence Countysincerely believes in the work ethic.

MONTICELLO – Junior fullback Johnathan Eley of Lawrence Countysincerely believes in the work ethic. He works hard in practice andproduces extra effort in games.

Eley (6-0, 205) is The Daily Leader’s Offensive Player ofthe Week for the fifth week of the 2000 season. In last Friday’s12-7 win over South Pike, Eley rushed the football 26 times for 121yards and two touchdowns in the Division 6-4A showdown.

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Lawrence County head coach Danny Adams praised Eley for hisefforts. “He’s doing a good job running the ball. We put him in thefullback position for us and that’s very important.”

The Cougars produced several time-consuming touchdown drivesin the victory over South Pike. Lawrence County maintainedpossession for 35 of the 48 minutes, rolling up 273 yards rushingon 64 carries.

“Eley has some strength,” said Coach Adams. “He doesn’t havegreat speed but he has good enough speed. He has done a good jobwith his vision. He sees his holes good and he finishes his runsreal strong.”

According to Eley, the victory over South Pike was a teameffort. “Our offensive line played well. Our defense reallyimproved. I was amazed by them.”

South Pike focused on stopping Cougar tailback Jamar Sibleyand quarterback Jerry “Pony” Smith. “The 47 Counter was the bestplay for me against South Pike,” said Eley. “The 45 Slant is myfavorite.”

Eley shared the glory with his offensive line. They includeweakside tackle Lee Mason and weakside guard Melvin May, centerJared Hall, strong guard Michael Smith, strong tackle Joey Fosterand tight ends Justin Wilson and Luke Thames.

In a rebuilding mode after winning the Class 4A statechampionship in 1999, the Cougars have steadily improved andfashioned a 3-2 record this season. They are 1-0 in divisionplay.

“I’ve been working on my blocking,” said Eley. “I worryabout blocking more than my running.”

In the weight room, Eley benches 310 pounds. He squats with540.

“I enjoy carrying the football,” said Eley. “We are workinghard to get better. We can play some better games thisyear.”

The Cougars host T.L. Weston of Greenville Friday nightbefore traveling to McComb for another division test. “We have totake one day at a time and one game at a time and keep improving,”said Eley.

“The Lord has blessed us,” he continued. “This team learnstogether in practice. It’s school all over again. We teach eachother.”

Eley said he enjoys playing for Coach Adams. “I like a coachwho is going to get at you. He teaches us to be the best and try tobe perfect. He’s a keep-going coach.

“Our coaches are on us,” he added. “They push us hard inpractice.”

In his spare time, Eley enjoys watching Florida State andTampa Bay on television. His father, “Jungle Jim” Eley is aMonticello High School alumnus who excelled in basketball.

Eley’s work ethic is evident in the classroom, too. “I tryto do my best in all my studies. I like English and physicalscience best.”