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Healthy Hart drives North Stafford

There was only one thing left that he could do. So he did it.

When North Stafford junior Torry Hart fractured his left ankle midway through the 2008 football season, starting a six-week relationship with a walking boot that left him unable to do much of anything, Hart retreated to the one place where he could still be productive: the weight room.

Though Hart’s season was over, he was uncomfortable with the idea of inactivity so he hit the weight room hard, focusing exclusively -- by necessity, of course -- on his chest and arms.

“I needed to stay active,” Hart said. “I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing.”

Fully recovered from that ankle injury and what Hart also described as an internal bruise, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back has been North Stafford's most active player during what has become a renaissance season for the Wolverines.

Despite finishing 1-9 last fall, North Stafford is 5-2 this season, 2-2 against Commonwealth District teams and is currently third in the Northwest Region Division 5 Powerpoint standings with a mark of 24.3.

A big reason why has been Hart’s running. In seven games, Hart has carried 137 times for 852 yards (6.2 avg) and eight touchdowns. He’s also benefitted from an offensive line that returned four of five starters from last year’s group.

The interesting thing, though, is that Hart has had four touchdowns called back because of penalties, including an 82-yard run during the Wolverines’ 35-7 win over Stafford last Friday, during which he had 10 carries for 120 yards and another score.

The time off, North Stafford Coach Joe Mangano said, gave Hart a new appreciation for the mental side of football -- cutting the right way off of blocks and reacting to what his offensive lineman were doing.

“Torry always had the physical ability, but [the hardest part] was catching him up how to play the game mentally,” Mangano said. “He understands what we’re doing now. He knows where the cutbacks are, where the holes are and what to read on a certain play.

“If you watch a lot of his runs, it’s because he made the right reads or the right cut and was not just relying on his athleticism.”

So far the recruiting interest has been somewhat tepid for Hart. Mangano sent copies of Hart’s first three games to 10 in-state schools for feedback. Hart also attended one-day camps at Richmond and Old Dominion and a three-day camp at James Madison.

There, his 40-yard dash time was measured in the low 4.6s, and he also boasts an impressive -- for a high school running back, at least -- power clean mark of 255 pounds. He benches 270 pounds and squats 375.

As for the ankle, Hart doesn’t even require a brace anymore. He has his shoes taped before games but that’s about it; the ankle, otherwise, has been 100 percent.

“I remember looking at him in December and January, and I was like, ‘Darn Torry, your arms look a little bigger,’” Mangano joked. “He just started physically maturing and filling out. I think he took the right approach by saying, ‘If I can’t run, let me do something to get better.’”

By Jason Mackey  |  October 22, 2009; 9:31 AM ET
Categories:  Commonwealth District , Football , North Stafford , Northwest Region  
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