It was brutally hot on opening night in Mathews with temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes near 100 before the sun sunk into the sky.
Players on both sidelines were affected by the heat with cramping affecting players for both Central Lafourche and White Castle.
But Trojans’ halfback Deon Jenkins never tired, nor wore down.
In fact, as the cramps overtook other players in the second half, he got stronger and did some of his best work, rushing for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in a big win.
This past Friday, it was the same thing — hot, humid, the works.
And Jenkins struck again, getting 200+ again with five more scores.
Jenkins is the prototypical bell cow running back — the type of guy who the Trojans want to touch the football 25+ times each game.
He relishes that role. It’s something he loves.
But what’s crazy is how well conditioned his body is for it and how strong he still is at the end of games, despite the punishment he receives from opposing defenders.
The senior back already has 10 touchdowns on the year in 2 games.
“He gets stronger as the game goes on,” Central Lafourche football coach Keith Menard said. “He’s just one of those guys. That’s just how he’s built. And look, we try to get him rest throughout the game and throughout the week. He’s the first one who will come to us and say, ‘Coach, I want to get back in.’ He’s a kid who just loves to play and help his teammates.”
So we asked Jenkins how he stays so fresh throughout games.
He said the stuff we see on Friday nights comes from the work he does throughout the week to get ready for games.
Jenkins said he never takes a play off — no matter if it’s on Monday at practice of Thursday in walkthroughs, no matter if it’s in May during spring practices or August during fall camp.
Through doing that, he said he’s conditioned himself to be a warrior on Friday nights — a guy opponents have come to fear.
But Jenkins also conceded that some of his inner strength is pulled from within — a deep-rooted competitiveness to do the best he can for his friends, family and brothers on the field.
“I try to run a lot throughout the week at practice,” Jenkins said. “So when the game comes, it feels like it’s nothing. It feels easier in the game than practice. But I just stay strong for my team and don’t give up and I give it my all on every play — no matter if it’s blocking or running.”
And through that competitiveness, Jenkins has quietly positioned himself as one of the most productive players in our area.
Jenkins is a three-year starter for the Trojans and one of the top offensive players around — a guy who is starting to generate collegiate attention for his work.
Jenkins said the biggest thing he’s learned throughout his high school career is how to be humble through successes.
Multiple times during the interview, the halfback touted his offensive line. He also gave credit to Trojans’ quarterback Ashtrein Duncan and the team’s other playmakers.
“Our offense is a powerhouse,” Jenkins said. “We have a great o-line, man. Those guys deserve credit. And we have great skill players who have speed and who can make things happen, and I think people are seeing now that our quarterback is one of the best.”
Jenkins said the reason why he’s able to keep such an even keel is because of how his career has gone. He’s undersized, standing just 5-feet, 8-inches and weighing 170 pounds. People often overlook him because he doesn’t have that prototypical frame.
“I’ve learned to humble myself and I’ve realized over these years that nothing will come easy for me,” Jenkins said. “I’ll have to work for it no matter what, so I just go as hard as I can every down because you never know when it’s going to be your last play.”
This year, the Trojans hope their last play will be played on the turf of the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
The Trojans are 2-0 after beating Franklin on Friday night. With weapons all over the field and an opportunistic defense, some are considering the team a wildcard in a jumbled up Class 5A.
Jenkins said there’s a lot of work to be done, but he doesn’t plan to let up anytime soon.
He said he’s going to leave it all out on the field to try and help his team win — any way that he can.
“Things are going as planned. We’re 2-0 and it feels good, but we still have a lot of work to do as a team,” Jenkins said. “Our goals as a team are to win district and then go to that State Championship. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do and we’ve been working to get there. We feel great about this year.”