CONCORD – L.J. Currie played with some extra motivation Friday night.
The senior running back returned to Concord High as a member of visiting Northwest Cabarrus, leading the Trojans to a 42-13 win at Robert C. Bailey Stadium.
Currie, who played the past two varsity seasons at Concord, gained 130 yards on 15 carries against his former school.
“This was a big win for me,” Currie said. “Of course, playing against your old school, you want to beat them. I wanted to let them know I was here.”
As a sophomore for the Spiders in 2017, Currie ran for 312 yards in a game. This week, he greeted his former teammates with the same downhill, bruising running style.
After beating Concord and helping the Cream of Cabarrus top-ranked Trojans (10-0, 4-0 South Piedmont 3A) remain unbeaten, Currie said he still has love for his friends on the other side.
“It was like a family reunion. I miss all of those guys,” Currie said.
Currie has stepped up since the Trojans lost Tyrese Blake, the school’s all-time leader, who suffered a lower leg injury on Sept. 13 against Marvin Ridge.
He has 721 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns this season.
“(Tyrese) told me I have to step up,” Currie said. “With me being his friend, I took that personally. I had to fill those shoes, and those are big shoes to fill. I told him I wasn’t going to let him down.”
Blake rushed for more than 2,300 yards with 30-plus touchdowns last year.
Before Blake was injured, Currie mainly played linebacker, getting a few carries here and there when Blake or fellow running back George Miller-Duncan needed breaks.
But Currie has a knack for being a standout as a fill-in. During that 2017 season with the Spiders, he originally was slated to be a sophomore backup to senior starter Jay Wilkerson. But when Wilkerson went down with an injury just days before the first game of the season, Currie was thrust into the starting role.
He finished the season with 1,346 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while earning All-South Piedmont 3A Conference honors.
In his first season at Northwest Cabarrus, Currie said he has learned a lot from Blake throughout the year.
“Don’t go down and try to score every time you get the ball because that seems like that’s what he does,” Currie said. “I try to bring an attitude to the team. I just try to bring that hard-nosed attitude to the field.”
It’s not yet known if Blake will return, but Currie can only imagine the damage the duo could do if the star running back comes back as the Trojans are making a playoff run.
The Trojans can clinch the SPC championship outright with a win next week against Cox Mill in the regular-season finale. The state playoffs will start on Nov. 15.
“That’s going to be crazy. I can’t wait until (Blake) is back on the field with us,” Currie said.