Chad Douglas Jr. never feels like a second-class citizen in his role as a two-way lineman with the Independence High School football team.
His father, Chad Douglas Sr., was a standout running back for Eastmoor in the early 1990s, and the 76ers have had a track record over the past decade of producing strong ground games.
Independence has another solid player in the backfield this season in senior Demontae Taylor, who has rushed for 1,357 yards and 13 touchdowns, as well as two other running backs who had more than 300 yards through five games.
Playing on the offensive and defensive lines as Douglas has for the last three-plus years might not bring the same glory, but it hasn't been without its rewards.
"My dad, I think, had 1,200 yards in his last eight games when he was at Eastmoor, so he was pretty good," said Douglas Jr., a 6-foot-1, 285-pound senior.
"I've always been a big kid. At first, I didn't like (being a lineman), but coming here, (coach Maurice Douglas) prides himself in the line. He shows the line love. He makes sure the linemen get accolades."
Independence is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the City League-South Division after defeating West 26-12 on Sept. 29. The last time the 76ers got off to such a good start was in 2008, when they won six of their first seven games and qualified for the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.
Independence hasn't been back to the postseason since then, but Douglas Jr. is hoping that changes this fall.
Douglas Jr., who is not related to Maurice Douglas, is expected to return to the field when the 76ers play Friday, Oct. 6, at Eastmoor, his father's alma mater. He suffered a right meniscus injury in the 76ers' 56-10 win over Briggs on Sept. 15 and missed the past two games.
Rarely since he joined the program, though, has Douglas Jr. left the field.
He became a starter on the defensive line as a freshman and has started on the offensive line since he was a sophomore.
His father is serving as an assistant under Maurice Douglas.
"Chad Douglas is obviously our guy," coach Douglas said. "He's one of the better offensive linemen and defensive linemen around and is a great kid. He loves the game. He's one of the guys kids rally around. Running backs here get a lot of yards, but it's because the offensive linemen are blocking.
"His dad is really involved with the program. Having that presence kind of helps him through. Anytime you get parents like that, it really helps."
Douglas Jr. is interested in studying TV and radio broadcasting, possibly in sports journalism, and often impresses his friends with his sports history knowledge.
He has scholarship offers from Ohio Dominican, Cincinnati Christian and Urbana and is hoping to land even bigger offers over the coming months.
This past summer, Douglas Jr. said he was named defensive lineman MVP at Kent State's camp, which also featured Westerville North's Jeremiah Burton and Reynoldsburg's Jay Amburgey.
Facing high-caliber competition isn't new to Douglas Jr., who played youth football with former Central Crossing quarterback and 2017 graduate Deric Williamson and competed for Reynoldsburg's eighth-grade team with standouts such as Joe Boggs and Elijah Ratliff, who have committed to Ball State and Marshall, respectively.
"When we saw the schedule, we knew we had a chance to do something great, and I'm glad we're living up to it," Douglas Jr. said.
"It's all about the culture. (Maurice Douglas has) been preaching it since my freshman year, 'Full speed, full speed, full speed, you've got to go fast.' If we do that, we'll see what happens. We're not very big, so he makes us play hard to make up for the difference. We have 2,000-yard rushers about every other year."
Cougars, Vikings set
to continue City play
Beechcroft will attempt to extend its 22-game winning streak in the City-North on Friday, Oct. 6, when it plays host to Centennial.
After beating East 41-0 on Sept. 22 to improve to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the league, the Cougars had a bye Sept. 29.
The game against the Tigers was the first this season in which Beechcroft scored more than 14 points. Senior running back and linebacker Shemar Samuel led the Cougars, scoring on a 20-yard run and a 65-yard punt return.
The Cougars likely will need to win out and get help to make the Division III, Region 11 playoffs.
Mifflin is the team from the City-North that has the strongest probability of making the postseason even though it lost to Beechcroft 14-8 on Sept. 15.
The Punchers are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the City-North after beating Linden 47-12 on Sept. 29. None of the opponents remaining on their schedule have a winning record.
Mifflin will look to avenge a 20-14 loss to Whetstone last season when it plays host to the Braves on Oct. 6.
Northland bounced back from a 48-34 loss to Mifflin on Sept. 22 by beating Whetstone 49-14 on Sept. 29. The Vikings are 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the City-North before their game at Linden on Oct. 6.
Devils, Scots look to
reign in City-South
Marion-Franklin continued its bounce-back season Sept. 28 when it defeated visiting Eastmoor 44-20 in a televised game.
The Red Devils finished 3-7 last season but are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the City-South as they prepare to visit Briggs on Friday, Oct. 6.
Running back Maleek McIntosh has rushed for 803 yards and nine touchdowns and Zaire Porter has nine touchdown receptions to lead the Red Devils' offense.
Porter had a 29-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and was named Marion-Franklin's homecoming king at halftime of their win over Eastmoor.
"It's always easier to work on things after a win," coach Brian Haffele said.
"We've got a lot of strong teams in our league. Briggs is going to be a tough challenge, and then we've got Independence and then Walnut Ridge.
"Last year we knew we were better than our record, but we weren't focused a lot of times in practice. They've really worked hard since then."
Walnut Ridge beat Briggs 23-8 on Sept. 29 and is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the City-South a year after losing four of its first six games and finishing 6-4.