Lake Norman & Mooresville

Vikings' running back speaks volumes with play

Cameron Mattox doesn't talk much, on or off the football field.

But for the past two seasons, the South Iredell senior running back's play has spoken volumes: He has rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns in that span.

"I don't really feel like I need to do a lot of talking with my mouth. It's not my style," said the 5-foot-8, 185-pounds Mattox. "I like to go out on the field every game and show what I can do and that is good enough for me."

Mattox, 17, has been a big part of a resurgent Vikings' team that has won 19 of its last 20 games, heading into the Bandys game Oct. 14, since former defensive coordinator Scott Miller took over the head coaching reins.

Miller, in his second year as head coach and seventh year at South Iredell, kept his defensive style intact while opening up the offense into a one-back spread attack.

The changes allowed the Vikings to showcase not only their talent, but also their speed. That speed can come from a variety of players and positions, including Mattox and wideout Quataye Smyre, a senior committed to East Carolina who had 22 receptions for 296 yards and six touchdowns before last week's game, and senior quarterback Adrian Whitener (788 yards, 11 touchdowns; 331 yards rushing).

But Mattox has been the centerpiece of the offense. He rushed for 1,655 yards and 19 scores a year ago and already had pounded out 1,304 yards and 18 scores to start this year for a Vikings team that was 8-0 before playing Bandys, including 4-0 in the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference.

Mattox has had his best streak over the last month, accumulating 888 yards and 13 touchdowns in four conference wins.

In that span, he had 132 yards rushing and six total touchdowns against West Caldwell; 198 yards and two more scores against Bunker Hill; 230 yards rushing and four touchdowns against Maiden; and another 228 yards rushing and a touchdown versus Valdese Draughn.

"Cameron has been a workhorse for us for the past two seasons and he just keeps getting better and better," said Miller. "He is an extremely hard worker who has earned everything that has come to him."

While Miller deserves a lot of credit for Mattox's emergence, the coach also pointed out his running backs coach, former longtime South Iredell football coach Bill Mayhew, as another big key.

Mayhew, who also was a Hall of Fame wrestling coach, has been an invaluable resource for both Miller and Mattox.

"I love coach Mayhew, because he knows everything about football," Mattox said. "He's been through everything. He has the answer to any question you can ask him."

While Mattox, who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and bench presses more than 300 pounds, has been the answer to most of South Iredell's questions the last two years, there was one game in which he couldn't make a game-winning play. That was in the first round of the playoffs, when Forest Hills converted a two-point play with 6.7 seconds left in the game to end the Vikings' perfect season.

"That game was hard to take, especially happening at home," Mattox said. "We haven't forgotten it."

Mattox and the Vikings hope to use that memory to finish off another great regular season. Home games against Newton-Conover and East Burke remain to be played before the Vikings look to make a deep playoff run.

"This year, we are focused on doing whatever it takes to get that ring," Mattox said. "We want to win the conference, but what we really want is a state championship."

No matter how far South Iredell goes, Mattox is excited about his future as a potential college football player.

Miller says Division II Concord (W.Va.) has already offered a scholarship to Mattox, while several area Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) schools are looking seriously at him.

"When I was a freshman and sophomore at South Iredell, I never thought I'd have a chance to play college football," said Mattox, who played JV football both years. "In the last two years, everything has come together and the future looks good. It's all waiting for me, and that is a great feeling."