Ever since Paul Lucas dazzled the state with his electric 100-meter dash state title run last spring, he figured to be an asset for the Mountain Pointe football team.
He could return kicks. He could be a deep threat at receiver. He could be a nice complementary piece for a state championship contender.
As it turns out, the Mountain Pointe junior is not just a track guy who plays football on the side. He’s a full-blown star on the gridiron.
Lucas made the vaunted Hamilton defense look downright slow at times on Friday night, rushing the ball 15 times for 143 yards and a touchdown and adding a 96-yard kickoff return for a score in the 37-27 win.
“I’ve never thought I was a track-only guy,” Lucas said. “I’m a football-first person.”
Lucas’ kickoff return touchdown showcased a little bit of everything in his arsenal. He used his vision to hit the correct hole, carried a defender for a couple yards before shaking him off, juked the kicker and then shifted into high gear the final 60 yards for the score.
The long touchdown run was similar, as Lucas made multiple defenders miss before getting into the open field and taking off.
“People think speed, speed, speed, he can’t use it on the football field,” Mountain Pointe offensive lineman Natrell Curtis said. “He can. I’ve never played with anybody like him.”
Lucas was on the junior varsity last season and was under the radar coming into the year, but was so good in the team’s season-opening victory over Las Vegas Bishop Gorman that Oregon State immediately offered him a scholarship. After this type of performance against the Huskies, he will be getting plenty more.
“I knew (the Gorman game) would attract attention, but at the same time, I didn’t want that to just be one (defining) game,” Lucas said. “I wanted to keep it going throughout the whole year.”
Lucas may have been known more for his track prowess heading into the season, but he said football has always been his first love. He started playing the game at age 7 and didn’t start track until three years later.
He’s certainly got a bright future in both, as Lucas will be the favorite to win the sprint events this spring. For now, though, he’s one of the biggest reasons why the Pride just walked all over Hamilton and grabbed the title as the team to beat in Division I.
Lucas is still slightly built - the Mountain Pointe coaches only recently got through to him on how important it is to lift weights - and isn’t a workhorse running back.
However, he’s likely going to touch the ball 15-to-20 times each game moving forward.
And when he does, watch out.
“He even surprised me,” Curtis said. “I made a block for him and turned my head, and he was already in the end zone. He’s something special.”