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Thunder and lightning: Great Falls High running back duo fueling Bison offense

Izayah Brown and Ryder English
Posted at 6:36 PM, Sep 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 12:09:06-04

GREAT FALLS — Three games into the high school season and Great Falls High has found its offensive strong points.

Senior running backs Izayah Brown and Ryder English are second and third in rushing yards and are tied for the most rushing touchdowns in Class AA with five each.

Bison coach Coda Tchida describes Brown as a powerful runner who never runs out of energy, and English as an explosive runner who can be used in almost any aspect of the offense.

English has tallied 245 yards on 27 attempts, averaging just over nine yards per carry. That is a huge leap compared to his junior year stats where he says he had limited to no experience running the ball in high caliber games, but prepared him for his current role. Although English is the one putting points up on the board, he gives a lot of credit to his offensive lineman.

“We’ve got athletic linemen that can move up and down the field, so I can vertically move off of them because they are already moving up the field so fast,” said English.

Brown was not with the Bison last season, as he was across the river suiting up for Great Falls CMR. However, his season was cut short due to injuries, and he was never able to show how good he can be when handed the ball.

Now he is three games in with Great Falls High and has totaled 347 yards on 42 attempts, making him the leading rusher in the Eastern AA and second overall.

“I got my junior season cut short and then I had glimpses coming back,” said Brown. “This year is really my year to prove what I’m about.”

English likes to think of their games as the ‘hammer and the nail’, stating that Brown hammers it in and he’s the sharp nail that likes to “dance it around and break free to the outside." Brown agrees that their running styles complement each other, but more so in a thunder and lighting type of way.

“I’m kind of more like a power back. I just lay the boom and then he’s the lightning that strikes. He’s quick and he covers so much space,” said Brown.

“Ryder can run on the outside zone, we can run him on some reverses or inside traps, and then we can just line up and run any kind inside run with Izayah. He can take on the contact and break as many tackles as he wants to,” said Tchida.

Great Falls High (2-1 overall, 1-0 Eastern AA) hosts Bozeman High (3-0, 1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.