Henry Clay running back Elijah Bell flashed his neon green football shoes at Tates Creek on Friday night.
"Flashed" is the accurate word because the fast, elusive Bell's fancy feet were a blur of color as he led the Blue Devils to a 43-25 victory.
Bell, a 5-foot-9, 155-pound junior, has 4.47 speed and an uncanny ability to slip tackles. He showed those talents against the Commodores, rushing 14 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns.
He would have had a fifth score if he hadn't fumbled at the Tates Creek 1-yard line after a 44-yard run. The ball rolled out of the end zone.
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"Sometimes you just get out of the way as a coach and let a kid play, and he can play," Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson said.
Bell, who is averaging 250 all-purpose yards a game, credited his offensive line for giving him lots of running room, and the defense, which came up with four interceptions, for the Devils' eighth win over Tates Creek in nine years.
"We're just doing good all around," he said.
Bell provided the highlights with his breath-taking runs. He said it wasn't his shoes, but his team.
So why the bright-colored footwear?
"Makes you look faster," he said with a smile.
Anthony "Bam" Lindsey, a 6-1, 290-pound fullback/defensive tackle, has a nickname for Bell.
"I call him the flash. He's amazing," Lindsey said.
With a backfield that includes Bell, DeArion Jones and Davion Jackson, and quarterback Rhoman James, the Devils have speed to burn. Jones ran 13 times for 94 yards to complement Bell.
Jackson didn't play because of injuries.
Lindsey provided the hammer on short-yardage situations. He ran five times for 20 yards and a TD. James scored on a quarterback sneak.
Henry Clay rushed for 374 yards, averaging nine yards a carry.
Tates Creek's hopes of keeping up with the Devils on the scoreboard rested on its passing game.
Sophomore quarterback Graham Gordon completed 23 of 37 passes for 262 yards and a TD, but he was picked off three times. The Commodores' suffered a fourth interception on a halfback option pass by Dennis Oxendine.
Tates Creek Coach Mike Harmon thought those miscues were the bottom-line difference in the outcome.
"You can't turn it over like that and beat a good team, period," he said. "We gave them too many possessions, and that's that."
Tates Creek trailed 21-7 at halftime as three interceptions kept the hosts from catching up with the Devils.
Jalen Ludwig, Logan Gross and Jones had the first-half picks. Austin Black got the fourth interception in the second half.
"They've got a gutsy sophomore quarterback (Gordon)," Simpson said. "He can put it up in the air, but our secondary played well tonight."
Gordon's favorite targets were R.J. Taylor (six catches, 59 yards), Dennis Oxendine (six catches, 53 yards) and TaVon Dunn (four catches, 70 yards, including a 26-yard TD.)
Oxendine and Casey Grimes combined for 132 yards rushing, and each had a TD.
"We moved the ball, we scored, we sustained drives," Harmon said. "But when you throw four picks ... "
Henry Clay 14 7 7 15—43
Tates Creek 7 0 12 6—25
TC—Dennis Oxendine 2 run (Jake Ryan kick). HC—Elijah Bell 12 run (Taylor Dunbar kick). HC—Anthony Lindsey 2 run (Dunbar kick). HC—Bell 26 run (Dunbar kick). HC—Bell 49 run (Dunbar kick). TC—TaVon Dunn 26 pass from Graham Gordon (run failed). TC—Gordon 1 run (pass failed). HC—Bell 13 run (Lindsey run). HC—Rhoman James 2 run (Dunbar kick). TC—Casey Grimes 53 run (run failed).
Records: Henry Clay 2-2; Tates Creek 2-2