by Scott Kindberg
December 9, 2001
A Notch Above
Mike Hart, Onondaga High School’s record-setting all-state running back, had just rushed for 352 yards and five touchdowns in the Tigers’ 33-26 Class D state semifinal victory over Clymer at the Carrier Dome.
Not surprisingly, he found himself in the eye of a postgame frenzy, politely answering questions from print and electronic media from throughout the state.
Even though he’s only a sophomore, Hart has already learned to deflect much of the attention away from himself and toward his teammates.
It was only when the subject of Jehuu Caulcrick, Clymer’s equally-talented fullback, came up that Hart avoided cliché like he routinely does would be tacklers.
“He’s a horse,” Hart said. “He’s real good. He’s going places....He’s real strong and real fast. He’s the best running back we’ve faced all year.”
We at the Post-Journal agree.
It took us most of the season, but it finally dawned on the sports staff who Caulcrick resembles when he runs the football.
A young Earl Campbell.
You remember him, don’t you?
He’s the former Houston Oiler who made a career in the late 1970s and early 1980s of bowling over, dragging and outrunning defenders on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Campbell was a joy to watch.
Caulcrick is too.
“The nicest thing about Jehuu is he’s a step away from a touchdown every time he touches the ball,” Clymer coach Howard McMullin said.
And touchdowns came in abundance for the 6-foot, 233-pound junior this fall as he lead the Pirates to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D semifinals for the third straight year earning him The Post-Journal Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
All told, Caulcrick, a first team All-Western New York selection, rushed for 1,670 yards on 205 carries and scored 33 touchdowns, including 30 on the ground. His 231 points scored are the second-best single-season mark in Western New York history, behind only Aaron Leeper’s 282 in 2000. Meanwhile, when added to his first two seasons, Caulcrick has amassed 514 career points, a Western New York best, surpassing the old mark of 510 held by Wade Turner of Lackawanna; scored 73 touchdowns; and rushed for 4,398 yards.
And the eye-popping numbers might have been even more gaudy had Clymer’s games been closer. For example, on two different occasions during the regular season, Caulcrick, a Connolly Cup finalist, carried the ball just four times and in three games he carried the ball no more than11.
“He had a nice season,” the understated McMullin said.
It got only better as it went along.
In a season dominated by outstanding running backs – Dustin Ross, Dustin Bowser, Carl Althans and A.J. Malecki to name a few – Caulcrick’s star shined the brightest in the biggest games.
“Jehuu’s always been able to step it up in the playoffs,” McMullin said.
Consider the post-season numbers:
- *Section 6 Class D semifinals vs. Randolph: 142 yards, 22 carries, four touchdowns.
- *Section 6 Class D Championship vs. Maple Grove: 152 yards, 23 carries, three TDs.
- *Western Regional vs. Clyde-Savanna: 256 yards, 27 carries, four touchdowns.
- *NYSPHSAA Class D semifinals vs. Onondaga at the Carrier Dome: 229 yards, 30 carries, two touchdowns.
While Caulcrick’s presence was felt primarily on offense, he also contributed mightily to the Pirate defense, which allowed just six points during the regular season. Playing defensive end, Caulcrick was credited with 45 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three safeties.
Quite a season for quite an exceptional young man, who remained remarkably grounded through Clymer’s drive to the Dome.
“Everyone worked together for this,” Caulcrick said after the Section 6 title game. “It wasn’t just me. It was the whole team.”