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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Travis Custis

Custis has another record-setting season

Photo by Jason Mussell
Lovejoy standout running back Travis Custis finished with 2,118 yards and 35 touchdowns for Class AAAAAA runner-up.

Photo by Jason Mussell Lovejoy standout running back Travis Custis finished with 2,118 yards and 35 touchdowns for Class AAAAAA runner-up.

HAMPTON — Travis Custis was the workhorse in the Lovejoy offensive attack.

After eclipsing the 2,000 yard mark and powering his Lovejoy Wildcats to a second straight state championship game, Travis Custis was named the Clayton News Daily offensive player of the year.

Travis Custis By The Numbers

270

carries

2,118

rushing yards

35

touchdowns

During a senior campaign that saw him rush for 2,118 yards and 35 touchdowns, the Georgia Tech commitment averaged 7.9 yards per carry, and amazingly had just three fumbles in 270 totes.

Custis said the 2,000 yard milestone was one that had been a season-long goal for him. He broke it after he ran for 290 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-42 Class AAAAAA semifinals win against North Cobb two weeks ago.

He was gracious in receiving his accolades.

“It feels great to be recognized in this way,” Custis said. “I want to thank my coaches, all the players, all my teammates. They helped us have the success we had this year.”

And even with all the success — a third straight region title and second straight state championship game appearance — Custis and company still came up just shy of his career goal to win a state title.

Lovejoy (13-2) lost to Norcross 21-14 in the Class AAAAAA final. In that game, Custis did not have his best performance. He carried 19 times for 59 yards and no scores as the Blue Devils front seven made running lanes hard to come by.

But the disappointment he experienced at the Georgia Dome for a second straight season isn’t enough to sour his perspective on what he and the Wildcats have accomplished over the last four years.

“I mean it hurts, but it’s something you’ve got to move on from,” Custis said. “You have to just learn to get over it and head on to the next goal.”

What’s next for Custis is Georgia Tech. The 6-2, 210-pounder selected the Yellow Jackets back in April and, despite Tech’s struggles this season — they finished 6-7 with a loss to Florida State in the ACC championship game — Custis is optimistic about opening up a new chapter in his career.

“I’m just hoping to be able to go and help make a difference there,” Custis said. “I’m working hard to make myself better.”

Just like he did during the offseason that followed a 2011 year where he rushed for 1,839 yards.

“This year, I worked hard to get a lot stronger and faster,” he said. “I was working hard in the weight room, pumping iron, just trying to get better and it paid off for me.”

On many occasions through the season, Lovejoy coach Al Hughes was complimentary of his star tailback’s ability to take over games as the team needed him to.

“He’s a guy that just likes to tote the load and put a team on his back,” Hughes said. “He’s a warrior, and he gets stronger as the game goes on.”

But Custis said he also wants to get faster as he prepares for Division I football. And while he has more than proven his worth to a team on the field, Custis said he wants to learn to be a more outspoken person amongst his team.

“The biggest thing I want to accomplish on my way to Tech is just improving all around,” he said. “Just like last year, I want to be stronger and faster. I really want to accomplish getting more speed and better agility. And I want to learn to be a better leader for me time.”