Tom Kelleher has become "Mr. October" for MacArthur football.
As the autumn chill has crept in, so too have opposing defenses, their safeties inching closer to the line of scrimmage with designs on stopping the Generals' star.
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At the same time, MacArthur has grown more reliant on the running back.
"In most years we're run-heavy, but this year even more so," coach Bob Fehrenbach said. "Tommy is getting so many touches and he's a workhorse for us. But right now, he's the straw that stirs the drink."
Kelleher did quite a bit of stirring Saturday, racking up 276 total yards and three touchdowns in MacArthur's 24-6 win over Elmont in Nassau I.
The senior rushed for a career-high 225 yards, added two receptions for 51 yards, and touched the ball on 32 of the Generals' 43 offensive plays.
Gerard Cunningham threw for 117 yards, Ryan Walsh had an interception and Na'im Al-Qaadir recovered a fumble for MacArthur (5-1).
"He takes a beating with some carries and he'll have those 1-yard gains," Fehrenbach said of Kelleher, a 6-1, 200-pound bruiser. "But if you feed him the ball enough times, he's going to pop a few."
1) His 4-yard TD run capped a 98-yard drive and put MacArthur up 7-0 in the second quarter. Cunningham's 66-yard completion to Mike Rotondo brought MacArthur to the 4, and Kelleher plowed in off left tackle.
2) Proving that he's more than a plodding power back, Kelleher broke a 44-yard TD later in the second quarter. He came off left tackle, slipped a defender, cut toward the middle and outran the pursuit.
3) In the fourth quarter, on a drive set up by Brendan Smith's interception in the end zone, Kelleher scored on a 36-yard burst to create the final margin.
"They knew we'd want to run the ball with Tommy and they stuffed the box," Fehrenbach said of Elmont (3-3). "It gives our kids confidence knowing they can run it against an extra man in the box. We were able to step up and deliver."