By Scott Eisberg
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Rico Blanding is the next in line of a long string of potent fullbacks for Goose Creek.
Virgil Smalls was their go-to guy the past four years; now its Blanding's turn. After sitting out the first two games because of a knee injury, he's now full speed ahead and doing quite a job.
Blanding has eight touchdowns, including four in Goose Creek's win over Carolina Forest last week.
"He's a 240-pound guy, and he gives real good punch at fullback. He'll be a key guy as we get into the stretch run here," says Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy.
Blanding is a tough and well-disciplined runner and blocker at fullback. He's got a great relationship with his dad, Steven Ford, who loves high school football.
"I talk to him every morning about what's going on in practice and everything, how my knee feels. He's very into what I do" says Blanding.
The difference between Blanding's conversations with his dad and other players- Blanding's dad is Sgt. Steven Ford, serving in the Army stationed in Kuwait.
"Sometimes you get moments of being homesick. I never show it, but definitely on Friday nights it hits home most. You want to be there but duty calls," Ford said on the phone Wednesday afternoon.
"He's a great supporter, I talk to him once a week, and he's able to watch live. We stream our games on Friday night so he's able to watch on the Internet" says Chuck Reedy.
"It's not the same as being on the field and watching games but thank god for modern technology. Every Friday, its Friday there, its 2:30 a.m. here, I set my alarm and watch" says Ford who has been gone since January.
If it's exciting to watch one handheld camera shoot the game on top of the press box for Ford, imagine what it will be like this Friday night. Goose Creek's game against Cane Bay will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
And for Ford, that means internationally televised.
"It'll definitely be a proud moment. I'm proud of him and Chuck Reedy and the coaches at Goose Creek high school doing such an excellent job. I'll definitely be watching in front of the widescreen," he said.
Not a bad way to follow your son.
Of course, Rico hopes to welcome his Dad home in January with another state championship trophy.