Eddie Jimerson remembers his days at Bleyl Middle School, which sits down the street from Cypress Creek High School tucked away off Grant Road.
Playing running back there was easy. Jimerson ran the ball. Jimerson scored touchdowns.
But playing running back in middle school and trying to do the same in high school are night and day. At Cy Creek, which excels offensively with its Air Raid scheme featuring multiple weapons, much is asked of the running backs.
That includes blocking.
“I wasn’t very good at blocking when I came in,” Jimerson said. “I remember the first spring. We were doing cut-blocking drills at the beginning of every practice with a dummy and I hated doing it.”
Jimerson has come a long way and Cy Creek is benefitting.
The Cougars have advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs for the first time in program history and has done so despite starting the season 0-4. They dominated Humble Summer Creek to the tune of 43-14 in the regional semifinals.
Cy Creek (8-5) advanced to face Beaumont West Brook (11-2) in the Class 6A Division II Region III championship. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at NRG Stadium.
Against Summer Creek, Jimerson scored four touchdowns and finished with 113 yards of total offense (65 receiving and 48 rushing). Three scores came on the ground in short-yardage situations, while the fourth was on a 41-yard catch and run in the third quarter that immediately followed Summer Creek’s first points of the game.
Jimerson is averaging nearly six yards per rushing attempt (926 yards on 163 carries) this season. He’s Cy Creek’s second-leading receiving, catching 51 pass for 538 yards (10.5 yards per catch) through 13 games.
“Most people in high school don’t utilize their backs out of the backfield as much as we do and that’s a distinct advantage that we have,” Cy Creek Head Coach Greg McCaig said. “Everybody is bringing massive amounts of pressure and the back stays in and blocks. We do it the other way.
“We say, ‘Alright, you want to do that? Then you better cover him.’ And it makes a huge difference because once he gets out in the open, he’s explosive and a tough guy to stop.”
Jimerson’s athletic ability and speed in open space was always there, going back to his days at Bleyl. His scoring exploits were topics of conversations.
“It’s one thing to hear and we take everything with a grain of salt, but when he came in, we saw a lot of raw talent,” said Mike Daniels, Jimerson’s position coach for the Cougars. “Some things he had to work on and like a lot of great athletes, they want to get better so they take to coaching and ask, ‘What can I work on?’
“Eddie’s been great at that. Not just his blocking, not just his running and not just his catching, but being a leader out there on the field.”
But back to the blocking, which dominated Jimerson’s first spring practice along with running routes and catching passes out of the backfield – something he also didn’t do much at Bleyl.
“During that spring, we were barely running the ball so I was either blocking or running routes,” he said. “It was totally different from what I was doing in middle school.
“But that made me a lot better because I could already run. I could do that other stuff so now I go from just running to running, blocking a lot and running routes. That made me multi-dimensional.”
Now as a junior, Jimerson’s play-making ability has helped take the Cy Creek offense to another level.
Defenses can’t key on him as quarterback Julian Brown is a 3,000-yard passer. Four different Cougars (Dawson, Unruh, Jimerson, Geonardo Sutton and Legend Grigsby) have at least 38 catches. McCaig and his offensive staff even move Jimerson around, emptying the backfield to find more mismatches.
Jimerson is ready. Same goes for taking a handoff.
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “Whatever I have to do.”