On a football Friday a few weeks ago, Bryan Station tailback Tevin McCaden's pre-game preparation did not include proper nutrition.
No breakfast. A slice of pizza for lunch. That was it.
That evening, while warming up for the kickoff against Scott County, McCaden felt light-headed. "I thought it was just butterflies." he said. "But when the game got going, I was woozy a lot."
Weak from hunger, McCaden scarfed down a Rice Krispies treat and some fruit on the sideline, then went out and devoured Scott County's defense. He ran 23 times for 252 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-25 defeat.
It's been that kind of year for the 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior. Nothing seems to slow him down. The state's leading rusher, McCaden has run for 2,007 yards and 26 TDs in nine games, despite nursing an (undisclosed) injury in recent weeks.
Bryan Station's roll call of great runners over the past 30 years includes tailbacks Marc Logan, William Dishman and Eric Shelton, and quarterbacks Kio Sanford and J.T. Haskins.
None of them did what McCaden has done — rush for 2,000 yards in the regular season. (Shelton totaled more than 2,500 yards in leading Bryan Station to the 1999 state finals, but that included more than 1,000 yards in five playoff games.)
McCaden is believed to be the first Lexington player to pile up 2,000 rushing yards before the playoffs.
"When you say Marc Logan, William Dishman and Eric Shelton, you've said a mouthful," said Bryan Station assistant Cornell Burbage, a teammate of Logan's in the early 1980s. "Tevin ranks up there with some of the great ones."
It's no wonder he's popped up on the recruiting radar of Kentucky, Louisville and Minnesota.
McCaden's stunning performance has surprised some people, but not his coaches or teammates. They saw his potential last fall when he was Patrick Cornett's backup. McCaden carried the ball only 36 times, but had 293 yards and six TDs.
"Every time he touched the ball, he was explosive, a time bomb ready to happen," Coach Oliver Lucas said. "So we knew what we were getting this year."
McCaden said it was his goal to rush for 2,000 yards, "but I didn't think I could do it this quick.
"I give a lot of praise to my offensive line. They're the reason I'm doing it."
The guys opening the holes are Tae Green, Darrian Miller, Kalib Ball, Jamal Johnson, Andrew Marsh, Royce Hawkins, Jaron Mock and Brad Pearce.
"We all knew last year Tevin had it in him to do this," Green said. "He just hadn't had his time to shine yet."
McCaden has all the necessary skills, most notably 4.4 speed and great vision.
But he's not one of those fancy-dancing backs. He does most of his damage blasting through the middle behind his offensive line, then turning on his jets in the secondary.
"I'm pretty good reading defenses, mostly the D-line," McCaden said. "I can get a sense where they'll go. Then I let my vision do my running.
"A lot of people probably don't realize I weigh 190 until they try to tackle me. They don't know I'm that big, and it surprises them a little."
McCaden's football skills have been enhanced by his experience on Bryan Station's wrestling team.
"That's the toughest sport there is," he said. "It's helped my strength and balance, and it's made me smarter, knowing how to defend my body."
Lucas said he loves McCaden's versatility.
"He's strong enough to run inside, and he's got enough speed to turn the corner on you," he said. "He's got good hands, too."
But McCaden's best asset might be the intangibles.
"The great ones have an ability to slow everything down and see the whole field, and have a way to will themselves to make big plays," Lucas said.
"Tevin's got all that."
And he has more than 2,000 yards to prove it.