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High school football: How A.J. West came from nowhere to help turn around Yukon's season

Yukon's A.J. West quit football in the seventh grade, but his friends were always trying to get him to play. He finally caved, and now he has more than 1,400 yards rushing for the playoff-bound Millers.
BY ED GODFREY Staff Writer egodfrey@opubco.com Published: November 3, 2012
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A.J. West has upset some former Yukon football players.

The sensational Yukon tailback didn't play football until this year, his senior season. Members of the most recent Millers' teams are wondering just how good they would have been with West in their backfield.

“I talked to one of them after the game (Friday) and he was like, ‘Gosh, I wish you could have played with us,” West said.

Yukon coach Todd Wilson wonders the same thing.

“We have been pretty good the last couple of years,” said Wilson, whose team was knocked from the first round of the playoffs each of the last three seasons.

“You would have to think we would have made a lot more noise with a guy like that back there. He was there (in school) the whole time and we had no idea he could be that good of a football player.”

West has come from nowhere to be one of the best running backs in the state.

“A.J., I love him,” Yukon wide receiver Codey Sanchez said. “He is the best running back, I think, that has ever come through Yukon.”

West's 146 yards in Yukon's 49-21 win over Putnam North Friday night gives him more 1,400 yards rushing on the season.

Before this season, West hadn't played any football since the seventh grade. He quit his seventh-grade team after getting angry over being benched for missing a team camp.

“Now it makes sense to me,” West said of the disciplinary punishment. “But then, I guess I couldn't understand that.”

West played basketball in high school, but his friends constantly pleaded with him to also play football. Even Yukon teachers tried to recruit him to the gridiron.

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