As Aumiere Shedrick was running wild through the Pueblo County defense Friday, he couldn't help but wonder if the night he was having was really happening.
The Harrison sophomore running back galloped for 207 yards and five touchdowns - scoring all but one of his team's points in a 35-26 victory.
"I've always wanted this moment to happen - to be on varsity and be able to do big things, not only for myself, but for my teammates as well," Shedrick said. "I was able to do that Friday night, and it was an honor."
The 5-foot-10, 215-pounder is hard to bring down once he gets his powerful legs rolling. He leads a young team - with only four seniors playing big minutes - and has been the key to an offensive explosion.
"It was unreal - like a dream - to have a game like that, but I couldn't do any of this without my teammates, and without my line," Shedrick said. "The line is tremendous, and they take care of all their key assignments and have helped me get to where I am right now."
Where he is through eight games is fourth in the state in 3A rushing yards with 1,117 - which is 12th most in the state, regardless of classification.
Since opening the season 0-2, the Panthers have won six straight, averaging 37 points in that stretch, helped by Shedrick's 11 touchdowns. He also has 19 receptions for 171 yards.
"Aumiere is the cog that gets us going, and it sets up everything else we do," Harrison coach Al Melo said. "We dictate everything we do off our running game, and he's our horse when it comes to running the football."
Harrison featured a balanced rushing attack last season, but lost 72 percent of its ground production to graduation. Somebody had to step up, and Shedrick was up to the challenge.
"I knew I had some pretty big shoes to fill, because we lost a lot of talented seniors from last season," Shedrick said.
"Coach told me at the beginning of the season that I would be the starter, and that gave me a lot of confidence and motivation."
Shedrick ran for 275 yards against rival Sierra on Oct. 7, so his five-score outburst against Pueblo County didn't necessarily surprise his coach.
"Aumiere is quick, and he's a big kid," Melo said. "He's very powerful in the lower body, and that's one of his strong points. It's hard for anybody to get a good shot on him. This wasn't a shock, because he was a kid who got varsity playing time last year, and played well."
The biggest test for Shedrick and the Panthers comes Thursday, when they travel to two-time defending 3A state champion Pueblo East.
Both teams are 3-0 in 3A South Central play, making this one of the biggest games in Harrison history.
"We're treating this as a regular game," Shedrick said. "We know what we have to accomplish; this is a proving game for us, because we want to show people that we aren't who they think we are. We aren't little or undersized, and we can play with the best teams out there. I'm very excited for this game."