When thinking of large running backs, William "Refrigerator" Perry and Jerome Bettis probably come to mind. Perhaps David Fangupo, a prep star Prep Rally helped introduce in February, might earn a thought. None of them can come close to Tony "Big Tone" Picard, a Washington teen who is toting the ball at 400 pounds.
The video you see above was brought to Prep Rally's attention by USA Today, and it is absolutely spectacular. Throughout a series of highlights, the 6-foot-5, 400-pound Picard runs over defensive linemen like a tractor. It's not that the White Swan High (Yakima) senior is particularly fast, he's just completely impossible to bring down, and has some agility to boot.
No wonder. When was the last time you saw a 400-pound player running with the football?
"It's so much fun to have him go out [on the field] as a captain and see him shaking hands before the game," White Swan coach Andrew Bush told Indian Country Today Media Network. "They're just kind of staring, like ‘Oh my gosh, you've got to be kidding me!'"
By comparison, Fangupo starred at Kealakehe High (Kailua-Kona, Hi.) weighing in at 350 pounds and 6-foot-2. Perry was famously 6-2 and 335 pounds. Picard has them both topped by at least 50 pounds and 2 inches.
He's athletic, too. The first time Bush thought about using Picard as a running back was on the basketball court, where the nose tackle was holding his own against his much smaller teammates.
Picard is Native American — he is part Umatilla-Nez Perce Indian and part Sioux — and has played a major role in White Swan's success, starting as both a nose tackle (no surprise there) and running back (big surprise). MaxPreps' official records show the Cougars at 9-1 entering the playoffs, and Busted Coverage credits him with 576 yards and 8 touchdowns citing statistics aggregated from game coverage provided by the Yakima Herald. Another site claims the giant running back has more than 700 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Based on the highlights, either set of statistics seems believable. According to Picard's coach, Andrew Bush, it usually takes five defenders to stop him.
"Most teams will sacrifice five guys to stop him: four linemen and a middle linebacker. That leaves three guys on each side to stop the rest of our team," Bush told Indian Country Today Media Network. "Everything else opens up: our outside running, our play action, and our entire passing game. We average about 450 yards as a team offensively."
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