CINCINNATI – It's no coincidence that Cincinnati Anderson running back Elijah Storey wears No. 37.
It's a family tradition.
Storey's cousin wears No. 37 for the Seattle Seahawks – 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander.
The similarities between Alexander, who grew up just across the Ohio River in nearby Florence, Ky., and Storey, who will lead the Redskins (11-2) into Friday's Division II state semifinal against Ashland (12-1), don't end there.
“Elijah is a physical back and he runs very hard,” Anderson coach Jeff Giesting said. “He really fits what we're trying to do. He had 500 or 600 yards for us last year, but he's really come on as a senior.
“He's got good genes.”
Storey has rushed for 1,868 yards and 20 touchdowns on 286 carries. He piled up 209 yards on 40 carries in Anderson's upset victory over top-seeded Turpin in the Region 8 title game last week.
It was one of three 200-yard games for the 6-foot, 190-pound senior this fall. But perhaps his most impressive showing came in a 39-38 overtime loss to Columbus-area powerhouse Hilliard Darby. Storey ran for 192 yards and two TDs as Anderson rallied from a 31-9 deficit.
“Their running back looks very good on film,” Ashland quarterback Taylor Housewright said. “They look very physical and very fast, both offensively and defensively.”
While Storey is the story more often than not, Anderson is far from a one-man show. Quarterback Daniel Rod has thrown for 1,861 yards and 14 touchdowns, while senior receiver Nick Truesdell, a 6-7, 215-pound specimen, has 28 catches for 507 yards and seven TDs.
“He runs the ball a little for us, too,” Giesting said. “It's hard, especially at the high school level, to defend against an athlete that size.”
Defensively, the Redskins have surrendered 42 points in three playoff victories. Giesting said slowing down Ashland's offense won't be easy.
“I'm very impressed with Housewright,” he said. “He's a tremendous quarterback.
“Ashland has tremendous size on the offensive line. Getting to (Housewright) isn't easy.”
Like Ashland, Anderson is making its first appearance in the state semifinals. Last week's emotional victory over backyard rival Turpin – the schools are located less than four miles apart – wasn't secure until Rod scored on a 1-yard keeper as time expired. John Howard's PAT was the game-winner.