Central Lakes College running back Roderick Warren's dream of a perfect play is a defensive back's worst nightmare.
"My idea of a perfect play would be one-on-one in the open field and pulling a disappearing act," Warren said.
The Raiders' freshman has pulled that trick twice in the last two weeks, reappearing in the end zone after zipping for scores of 89 and 22 yards in CLC's first two games.
Even more impressive is the fact that Warren has run for 244 yards on 24 carries (10.2 average) to emerge as the team's most potent offensive threat.
He isn't a bruiser as the 5-foot-8 native of Miami, Fla., tips the scales at 152 pounds. Warren's strength is his speed, running a pair of 4.3-second 40-yard dashes during time trials at the beginning of the season.
"I've never coached, played against or saw anybody run a 4.3 40 before in person," CLC head coach Mike Degen said.
Warren's speed resulted in a few changes for the Raiders' offense. After seeing how much of an impact player Warren could be, Degen changed some offensive schemes to get him more carries.
However, making an impact on the other side of the country does not seem to have gone to Warren's head.
"He's a soft-spoken individual," Degen said. "When you ask him how good he is, he says 'You'll see.' When you ask him how fast he is, he says, 'I'm pretty fast.'"
Wide receiver Brandon Flanders, another player on the team from Miami, agrees with Degen's assessment -- at least until Warren gets on the field.
"Off the field, he pretty much doesn't say anything," Flanders said. "He's a nice guy. If you see him, he's polite and respectful. On the field, he's coming after you -- 'You'll have to catch me and tackle me to stop me' -- and it's pretty hard to catch him."
A deep hip bruise in a 27-14 loss to Vermilion last week has been the only thing keeping Warren from tearing up the league. He says treatment has been working and he will be ready to go when the Raiders take on Northland Community College at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Thief River Falls. The Raiders fell to Northland last season 17-14 in overtime.
While CLC would love to give Warren the ball on every play, Degen said the Raiders will need to be more selective and use him when they need that blazing speed the most.
"We need to make sure we're using him in the right times," Degen said. "At 160 pounds, I don't really think he's a possession back because of the pounding he takes and the size of the guys we play, but I do believe he's an impact player."
Degen said having players from all over the country on the rosters of teams in the Minnesota Community College Conference is not uncommon, but having four players from the same area is a different twist. CLC lists four players from Miami on its roster.
"It's pretty typical for community colleges in Minnesota (to have out-of-state talent)," Degen said. "As far as having all from one area all the way up to Minnesota, it's a big difference. It's a big culture shock for him."
That goes for on the field as well as off the field. On the field, Warren said football in Miami is more fast-paced and aggressive while in Minnesota the players are bigger and more disciplined.
Off the field, Warren said he is intrigued by the idea of deer hunting. He had never heard of ice fishing prior to Thursday and marveled at the idea of cars driving on a frozen lake.
As foreign as some of the activities will be to Warren when the snow flies, his time with the Raiders will be familiar. It will be time spent busting through the line and burning past defensive backs. It will be an opportunity to continue playing the game.
"(It's) just another chance to play football and go to school," Warren said.
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