Plainfield North coach Tim Kane wasn’t knocking his offensive linemen -- he knows they worked hard this season -- but they weren’t exactly the largest line around.
Kane’s biggest player was 6-2 and 215 pounds while most of them were around 5-10 and 205 pounds. The linemen opened holes, but the holes weren’t exactly the same as the ones a line of 260-plus pounders can produce. That’s just a fact.
Kane could only imagine how many more yards and touchdowns ESPNChicago.com Offensive Player of the Year Kapri Bibbs could have added to his total if he had a massive line to run behind. Without it, he still amassed 2,654 yards and 38 touchdowns during an unforgettable senior season at Plainfield North.
“I know there are some great running backs in the state of Illinois,” Kane said. “I think we had a bunch of kids who worked their tail off, but he wasn’t running behind linemen who are 6-4 and 295 pounds. I’m not taking anything away from our kids, but there are kids running behind offensive lines that size.”
Not only did Bibbs have an average-sized line, but his opponents knew he was going to get the ball and prepared every week for him. Yet, Bibbs still ran wild.
He rumbled for 338 yards and six touchdowns against Grant. He had 306 yards and four touchdowns against Plainfield Central. He rushed for 340 yards and four touchdowns against Romeoville. He had 354 yards and five touchdowns against rival Plainfield South.
Those were just his good days. His best one came when he ran for a state-record 520 yards against Oswego on Oct. 1.
“I thought he was going to be better than last year, but to put up the numbers he did, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that or anticipated that,” Kane said. “When I sit down to put together the highlight tape for his senior year, it’s going to be an amazing sight.”
Staying on the subject of sight, Kane and Bibbs agreed it was his vision that separated him from most backs. Bibbs ran this season as if he saw the play unfold before it actually unfolded. He cut at the right moment. He stopped at the right moment. He burst through a hole at the right moment.
“Definitely, it’s my vision,” Bibbs said. “That’s what I appreciate most as a running back. Speed can’t get you everywhere. If you can have speed, vision and power, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. There’s no stopping that.”
Colorado State, where Bibbs is headed next season, is surely hoping that continues. While other schools have continued to call during Bibbs’ historic season, he’s continued to stay firm on his original commitment.
For one, Bibbs is loyal, so he says he wouldn’t change his mind no matter what school was interested. Secondly, he wants to create something of his own at Colorado State.
“I want to be able to build something,” Bibbs said. “I don’t want to go somewhere that’s already built. I want to be able to build a legacy.”