Williamsburg Area High School running back Alan Shanholtz has always possessed good, raw running talent. But last year as a junior, he succeeded in refining that talent.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Shanholtz finished 12th among all the Mirror region's running backs in total yards gained last fall, picking up 909 yards on 220 carries - a 4.1 average - and scoring five of his six touchdowns on the ground.
"Last year, he had a good year, with over 900 yards, but he got better as the year went on,'' Williamsburg coach Bob Hearn said of Shanholtz, who will be a two-year starter at running back and a three-year starter at linebacker this fall for the Blue Pirates. "He runs very hard, and he started to see more [openings] on the field as the year went on last year. This year, we expect him to pick up where he left off last year.''
Shanholtz, who had previously run with reckless abandon, recognized the need to tweak his approach last year.
"I'm more of a run-over-people kind of person, but I learned last year that I needed to do more than that,'' Shanholtz said. "I got better at moving my feet. I still like running [defenders] over most of the time, but I also like juking them out and seeing them fall on their knees. I just love running the ball.''
Hearn said that, like a prime sports car, Shanholtz gets to top speed very quickly.
"He has good speed, he's quick, and he accelerates very well,'' Hearn said. "He gets to his top speed pretty quickly. I've seen kids who can run fast, but they do not play as fast in an actual game. He possesses good game speed - he plays as fast as he is.''
Shanholtz is hoping that this year's Williamsburg team can play at a good, steady, and successful pace.
"The biggest thing is keeping our chins up,'' he said. "Last year, if we started losing a game in the first quarter, everybody kind of gave up. But in our last game of the season - [Williamsburg's only win in 10 games, a 15-6 victory over Bishop Carroll] - we stuck our heads in there the whole game, and it ended up pretty well. Keeping a good attitude is very important.''