Pooh Harden has played his last high school football game but the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe running back is going out on a high note.
Officially Roddaze Harden Jr., Pooh Harden might also be known as the Warriors' Mr. Football. He earned Times Free Press Player of the Week honors for a 230-yard rushing effort in the Warriors' 37-7 victory over Sonoraville.
"He also had three TDs and one of those was a 91-yarder," LFO offensive coordinator Houston White said. "It put him somewhere up there around 1,400 yards for the season."
The senior had another 200-yard effort earlier this season and head coach Todd Windham thought Harden had but one game -- against Ringgold -- in which he failed to get at least 100 yards.
"He's been fairly consistent although he is not a big guy," Windham said. "We timed him at 4.39 in the 40 back in the summer. It was hand-held but he can run. I think he was a region finalist in the 200."
Both coaches feel Harden has come close to getting the most from his 5-foot-8, 165-pound frame.
"He runs hard for a small back. He doesn't mind contact and he'll run between the tackles," White said. "There's probably not another back in the area that's going to get to the hole as quick as he does, and he can give contact as well as take it."
White and Windham are interested in helping Harden get to the next level. They say he has the gpa but that he hasn't yet taken the ACT or SAT. The big test, though, may be the "eye" test when recruiters size him up.
"He's probably naturally a better defensive back than running back but we just couldn't afford to play him full-time on defense knowing how many touches he was going to get offensively," Windham said.
"I think he'll have some opportunities," White added. "At some levels he could be a playmaker and running back, but I think his best bet at the next level will be as a cover corner. He has good grades, a good work ethic. It's just a matter of getting the right fit."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...