Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

DAMASCUS -- Nile Knapp put up some unforgettable statistics this season. He ran for five touchdowns in the season opener against Westwood. He rushed for 307 yards in a blowout of Brookwood. He even averaged a gaudy 23.6 yards per carry in a first-round playoff victory against Strong Rock Christian.

Yet, none of those would go down as the favorite game of the Southwest Georgia Academy senior.

"Last game was the most fun game of the year for me," Knapp said of a 52-28 second-round victory at Bulloch Academy. "I got to go out wide and be a distraction while everybody else went out and scored."

A stereotype existed around the transfer from Sherwood Christian Academy when he switched schools this summer in that he was looking to find a program to inflate his already large numbers.

After all, he rushed for 1,515 yards at SCA last year and scored 25 touchdowns.

The numbers did balloon this season. His 2,152 yards on 207 carries is about 150 yards shy of the Warriors' school record set more than two decades ago by Paul Nelkie. Oh, and by the way, Knapp reached his yardage in 100 fewer carries.

Knapp could care less about his numbers -- even a statistic like 31 touchdowns in 12 games. For the kid who shied away from interviews earlier in the season because he didn't want the story to be all about him and preferred watching his teammates shine in the end zone spotlight to his own personal gain, it has never been about him.

"I just want to win," Knapp said. "It is definitely frustrating if they say I am the only player on the team and if they shut me down then we are going to lose. That's not the case."

It's no secret that with a physical offensive line, SGA could pound Knapp every snap and win enough games to end up in the state playoffs. They are that good.

But for SGA to move beyond the Final Four round it plays in on Friday at Brentwood -- and win a state championship -- the Warriors would need more.

As it turns out, they have plenty.

And it's a lesson Class AA is learning, one defeated opponent at a time.

"I could make a lot of people mad about this statement, but it is really the truth: This is the best offensive team that I have been around," SGA coach David Bell said.

Where defenses have stacked nine and ten defenders in the box to stop Knapp, the combination of Taylor Tabb, Troupe Tabb, Dillon Driver and Weston Lee have all averaged more than 6.8 yards a carry. Meanwhile, quarterback Andrew Stone has popped passes over the top of defenses to tight end Danny Doster for eight TDs.

Last week, Knapp only touched the football 12 times and found himself drawing two defenders when he trotted out to the receiver position as a decoy.

SGA led, 30-7, at halftime and Knapp hadn't seen the end zone once.

"It's a whole lot of fun," said Taylor Tabb, the older of the two Tabb brothers who scored three TDs against Bulloch and has over 1,000 all-purpose yards this season. "Everyone is contributing. Danny, Dillon, Allen Gray -- all of them had great catches."

Bell witnesses three and even four players at times shadowing Knapp around the field. He can't help but smile like a little kid on Christmas and know his chances of playing the day after Thanksgiving increase every time it happens.

"I'll say, 'Watch this,' " Bell said. "We will run a reverse to Tabb or fake it and throw it. It is real fun coaching an offense with weapons like this."

It all begins with an offensive line Bell says "everyone was talking about" after the latest Warriors victory. SGA stormed Bulloch Academy's field and bullied the Gators into submission by halftime.

It allowed Stone to throw for 82 yards on top of the 352 team rushing yards. It also rebuilt any confidence squandered in a 33-26 defeat to Sherwood Christian in the final game of the season and returned a belief the Warriors have the potential to capture their first state championship since 1998.

SGA has scored at least 35 points in five of its last six games and rushed for 841 yards in two playoff games.

At its roots, the offense begins with Knapp. At its best, it doesn't need him.

And the situation sits perfectly with both parties.

"If (our offense) has

another performance like last week," Knapp began, "I don't think we can be stopped."