Brian Baltimore has been the focus of the Hickory Ridge offense and its opponents the past few seasons.
The all-conference running back doesn't mind being in the spotlight. Instead, he thrives in it.
"I'm not afraid of the pressure," he said. "I'm ready for it, I've been working for this the last four years."
Baltimore is averaging more than 20 carries a game, while rushing for nearly 1,000 yards - about 160 yards per game - and 11 touchdowns going into Friday's game against Mount Pleasant despite defenses zeroing in on him.
His play gives a team that had only 170 passing yards and no touchdowns in the air going into last Friday a chance to win.
"In a nutshell, he means everything, and that doesn't mean just on the field," said Ragin' Bulls coach Marty Paxton. "He's definitely been a leader off the field - in the weight room, during the offseason."
Baltimore's threat in the backfield also plays an important role on the Ragin' Bulls' offense.
"We try to run some play-action to try to take some of that pressure away because we know people are going to put eight, nine guys in the box to stop Brian," said Paxton. "But there have been times, when we've had to say, 'Brian, it's time to put your work boots on, buddy.'"
Baltimore hasn't disappointed when the game is in his hands, but he admits that his personal accomplishments mean nothing if his team doesn't win.
That team-first mentality doesn't stop Baltimore from holding himself to a high standard. He hopes to reach the 2,000-yard mark, which he missed by fewer than 80 yards last year, and to score more than the 20 touchdowns he had last season.
If Baltimore continues at this pace, he should be able to reach his goal.
Baltimore wasn't always a running back. Although he started playing football at age 6, he didn't start playing his current role until seventh grade. He said he switched to follow in his father, who was a running back in high school.
"I really love it, I'm glad I did it," he said.
Paxton is thankful he switched too, adding that Baltimore's success in the last few seasons can be attributed to his explosiveness, which Paxton said was one of his star player's best attributes.
Baltimore said his success has to do with much more than that.
"I'm a running back with good vision," said the 6-foot, 180 pounder. "I'm balanced - I can do a lot of things. I can outrun you, I can run you over, if I have to make a cut, I'll make you miss."
Although his highlights are commonplace on Friday night prep football shows and articles about him are written throughout the football season, Paxton said Baltimore has stayed humble.
"I don't think that's affected him, his attitude or his work ethic," he said. "He's one of the most humble kids that I have ever coached."
Baltimore was frustrated at the beginning of the season, when the team started off 0-2, but he said the offense is starting to click together. On Oct. 1 against Cox mill, they scored a season-high 37 points.
His coach agreed.
"We're coming around," said Paxton. "Anytime your running back can rush for more than 200 yards, you know that he had a good game, but also that those big guys up front and your quarterback had a good game in order for him to do well."
The offensive line had been a big question, only returning senior Danny Book this year.
"Our O-line has worked hard," said Baltimore. "Our linemen had not played much before this year, so it was a work in progress, but they've gotten better every game."
If they keep improving, Baltimore could have more big nights for the Ragin' Bulls.
"When we do play our best, you can see that we're a dangerous team," said Baltimore.
Hickory Ridge (3-3) has gotten off to a good start in the South Piedmont Conference, winning its first two games.
"We want a conference championship," said Baltimore. "We know if we want to do that, we probably have to beat every team in the conference. I think our team is focused. I think we're ready."
Baltimore's clutch play will be crucial for the Bulls to have a chance to win the SPC. He'll feed off of that pressure.
"I enjoy when a game is on the line and I have to have the ball," he said. "I feel like without the ball in my hands, this team is not the same."