It started with Keith Brown, who rushed for 2,701 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior in 1995 under legendary Mountain Pointe High School football coach Karl Kiefer.
Then it was Nic Lovett, the son of the infamous Mark Lovett, who passed away in 2001 and was the inspiration behind Mark Lovett Field, where Mountain Pointe practices. To this day, Nic holds the school’s all-time rushing record of 3,330 yards.
Since then, names like Michael Moore, Davon Jones, two-way player Wesley Payne, Paul Lucas, Gary Bragg and most recently, Jakim McKinney, have been some of the great running backs to come out of the Mountain Pointe program.
Now it’s senior Resi Shank’s turn.
“I’m just trying to carry on that legacy,” Shank said. “I feel like being as seniors, we have to put the rest of the team on our backs and build our team up to win games.”
Shank has played running back since a young age. The fastest player on his youth team, he was moved to the backfield to create a spark on offense. The position came natural to him.
But while he found success at running back, his love for defense never faded.
As a junior last season, Mountain Pointe coach Rich Wellbrock, in his first season at the time, recognized Shank’s athletic ability and wanted him on the field.
But with McKinney and then-sophomore running back Eli Sanders -- who has since transferred to Chandler -- Wellbrock knew his defense could benefit from Shank’s athleticism.
“He wanted to carry the ball last year and now he has that opportunity,” Wellbrock said. “He did what was best for the team last year by playing linebacker for us. He will still do that, but now he’s going to be the one in the backfield carrying the load.”
Along with running back, Shank grew up playing linebacker and cornerback. So the move to the defensive side of the ball full time came natural.
He finished the 2018 season with the second-most tackles on the team with 97, 10.5 of which were for a loss and 1.5 for a sack. He also had two interceptions on the year, one of which he returned for a 76-yard touchdown against Mountain View in the second week of the season.
Shank admits that he sees himself as more of a versatile player on defense, mostly because of his ability to play in coverage or in the box to stop the run. But he plans to bring his physicality and aggressive playstyle with him on offense.
“I pound the ball, I just keep pushing,” Shank said. “I can get 4 yards, 4 yards, 4 yards for a first down then there will be a couple plays out of the whole game where it will open up and I’ll turn it on from there.”
At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Shank has enough power behind him to run through would-be tacklers. He also has the speed and athleticism to breakaway in the open field.
He will be relieved at times by junior running back Chivis “Q” Benson, who at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, also has many of the same attributes as Shank.
Senior linebacker Rashion “Chunka” Hodge will also line up in the backfield at times. His 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame gives Mountain Pointe even more size and versatility at the running back position.
The trio has thrived so far this offseason in new offensive coordinator Mark Mejia’s offense.
Shank believes the new system has created more chemistry between the group of running backs and offensive line as they learn the offense together.
“I feel like something different is always good,” Shank said. “The different changes and all of that, we build a better bond.
“We’ve all started to believe in each other.”
As a senior, Shank has started taking the necessary steps to become one of the Pride’s leaders this season.
He’s a part of the team’s leadership council, and according to Wellbrock, has taken on a role of leading both vocally and by example both on and off the field.
He continuously motivates his teammates during practice, and displays the confidence he has in his team on a constant basis.
He believes this team can be special, and he will do what it takes to help the rest of the senior class achieve success in their final season at Mountain Pointe.
“We just need to always keep our heads up and keep pushing,” Shank said. “I want people to remember this 2020 class for being special. I believe we can do that.”