Athlete of the Week: Accolades come to modest Goodson

Atticus Goodson, 3, of Independence, dives in the end zone for a touchdown against Shady Spring in the first half Friday evening at Independence High School.(Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

Independence’s Atticus Goodson, the area’s first legitimate Kennedy Award candidate since Bluefield’s Mookie Collier, isn’t necessarily a reluctant superstar.

Just understand that he can take it or leave it.

Yet talent often supersedes the aversion to the spotlight, and such was the case Friday, when the Patriots senior standout rushed for a career-high 318 yards and five touchdowns in Independence’s 50-17 victory against Shady Spring.

That was enough to earn him Register-Herald Athlete of the Week honors.

Goodson was not only the area’s first 300-yard rusher of the season, but he was the first to go over 200 yards in a game.

It was his second career 300-yard-plus game, the other coming last year when he had 311 yards and six touchdowns against the Tigers.

When he plays well it is a team victory, he said.

“It means that our team played good,” Goodson said. “Without them I wouldn’t do anything, and I appreciate them.”

He doesn’t avoid the spotlight, but he would rather share it as he said after the season-opening 47-0 win against Liberty.

Share it with the offensive line, of which he said: "Everything that I’ve ever done in my career I could not have done at all without the linemen. I would have three rushing yards maybe in my entire career without them. They mean more to this team than they will ever know, and I appreciate everything they do for us.”

Share it with the receivers, including brother Cyrus, who had a touchdown reception and an interception return for a touchdown among his three 50-plus-yard plays.

“When you stack the box against us (to stop the run) we have three guys (Trey Bower, Cyrus Goodson, and Judah Price) that you’re just not going to catch, I don’t care who you are. It opens up a lot for me when we’re able to pass.”

Not coincidentally, Goodson’s top two rushing games against Shady Spring came in two of the top three passing games for the team in the past two seasons (156 by Isaiah Duncan in 2020 and 193 by Logan Phalin last week).

He sees and hears the mentions on social media platforms and in traditional media sources.

“I really don’t pay attention to it,” he said. “I see it on Facebook and stuff, I just keep scrolling. I might retweet it just to do it. Honestly, I’d rather see it be the Judah (or) Bower Show or the Cyrus (Goodson, his brother) Show or the Logan (Phalin) Show.”

Yet with success come accolades.

Maybe it’s best left for others to talk about the senior, a returning first-team all-stater who now is just 137 yards from 4,000 career yards rushing. His third touchdown against Shady Spring, a 15-yard run, was the 50th of his career.

“It feels great,” offensive lineman Brady Grimmett said of blocking for Goodson. “We’re normally shooting for 250 to 300 yards a game. We moved the ball pretty good.”

Shady Spring coach Vince Culicerto is probably glad he doesn’t have to face Goodson again, after he has rushed for 629 yards and 11 touchdowns against his team. He earned Register-Herald player of the week honors last year as well.

“He’s as big as a mountain; he’s fast and pretty darned strong,” Culicerto said. “He’s a good back, no doubt about it and he ran hard. I thought we laid a few licks on him but he was too much.”

Ironically, his career-low 35 yards came against Shady Spring in 2019, the only game in his high school career – 20 games – when he didn’t score at least one touchdown.

“I’ve always had a thing with Shady, we don’t really like each other too much,” Goodson said. “I love the kids over there. We know when it comes time to play, they’re enemies and not friends. As soon as the game is over, or something happens in the game I’m right there for them. But after being stopped for 35 yards (in 2019) it motivated me. I love playing against them.”

Independence, scheduled to host Westside Friday, will instead play the Renegades Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Greater Beckley Christian volleyball player Jenna Fisher won the online reader poll with 41.5 percent of the vote.

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