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have in 2017 — par­tic­u­larly in the run­ning game.

“I’ve been work­ing on get­ting bet­ter on the of­fen­sive line,” he said. “I’ve been try­ing to get to know ev­ery­thing that I need to know. Like, go­ing over all the stuff I did over the last year and work­ing on get­ting big­ger and stronger. That’s re­ally been the main thing.”

Ben­son will play on both East- side’s de­fen­sive and of­fen­sive lines this fall. That’s not new for him. But the big­gest task is try­ing to help bring some of his fresh-faced trencher­men on the o-line up to the task of com­pet­ing this fall.

“I’ve got my buddy Spur­geon (Gaither) on the line to help me hold it down on de­fense,” Ben­son said. “And I’ve got my­self on the o-line, but I’m gonna work to get a few more guys with me this year. But I think we’re go­ing to have a good group.”

Part of that comes from the fact East­side will look to boast a three­headed mon­ster at tail­back with the re­turn of junior Tay­lor Carter who rushed for over 500 yards and nine touch­downs while split­ting time with grad­u­ated tail­back An­thony Brown.

Ben­son be­lieves Carter’s tal­ents will shine in a whole dif­fer­ent way, as the likely fea­tured back in East­side’s of­fense.

“TC did a good job last year,” Ben­son said. “We’re gonna get 1,000 (yards on him this year.”

But in 2017, Carter won’t be tot­ing the leather alone. The East­side run­ning game will be bol­stered by the ad­di­tion of two Rock­dale trans­fers in se­nior Tyon Davis and junior Jor­dan Rogers. Rogers would’ve been the sec­ond lead­ing re­turn­ing rusher for the Bull­dogs, as he ran for 274 yards on 46 car­ries and a score, just be­hind se­nior Cortez Faulkner who ran for 461 yards and two scores in 2016.

The trio’s po­ten­tial has Ben­son ex­cited.

“Those are my boys,” he said. “I think with Tyon and Jor­dan, we can re­ally im­prove.”

Ben­son said he’s chiefly mo­ti­vated, how­ever, by the op­por­tu­nity to see East­side go deeper in the play­offs than be­fore in the play­offs.

“I want us to make a deep play­off run,” he said. “That’s what I want to see. We haven’t had one in a while. I think the fur­thest is the sec­ond round, and that was my fresh­man year. We’re try­ing to go to at least the third this year.”

That’s why he doesn’t mind putting in the work, even just days af­ter the 2016-17 school year ended. Ben­son said he’s not look­ing for a break.

“It’s like an all year process, re­ally,” he said. “Ev­ery­thing is back to back to back. We had a good win­ter, a good spring. So now it’s time to get ready to get this new sea­son started, re­ally.”

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