Dynamic Duo: Anderson, Jamabo have West rushing toward playoff return
Considering they play the same position, Plano West junior running back Auston Anderson and sophomore running back Sotonya Jamabo could have a competitive relationship.
Instead the two have a give-and-take dynamic more suited for a comedy show than a competition as the only point of contention comes from who has more nicknames.
Jamabo, known across the West system as So-So, takes the early lead.
"Well, there is So-So, there's Saucey," Jamabo said.
Anderson has had plenty of nicknames bestowed on him as well.
"Usually AA, but there is also the Battery and Cecil," Anderson said before adding he wasn't entirely sure what TV show the Cecil reference was based on.
The camaraderie shown after practice has translated to the field with both surpassing 100 yards rushing and reaching the end zone in Friday's victory over South Garland.
"Auston and So-So both have good work ethic, which you don't always see this early in a player's career," said Mike Hughes, West head coach. "And they both have tremendous speed and quickness, which is great for us because it allows us to be balanced with the carries.
"They do a good job of blocking for one another too."
Jamabo and Anderson agreed that Anderson was probably the better blocker and faster runner, but the banter begins again when describing their respective running styles.
"AA is the mean, aggressive little," Jamabo said before Anderson interjected, "don't say little ... let's go with vertically challenged."
Indeed the size difference between the two is noticeable as Anderson stands 5-foot-8 3/4 while Jamabo is 6-foot-2 1/2.
"Man, I would love to trade bodies with So-So for a day," Anderson said.
When asked what he would do for that one day, Anderson quickly responded, "Probably the first thing I would do is dunk a basketball." Jamabo is plenty capable of doing that as he is a highly-ranked shooting guard prospect on the basketball court in addition to being a sought-out football prospect. Jamabo hasn't limited his school choices just yet, but said he could picture a scenario in which he plays football and basketball at the next level.
While Jamabo is already being pursued by numerous Division I schools, he may have no bigger fan than his backfield mate.
"My boy is the truth," Anderson said. "We all have our roles on the team and everyone knows So-So is a superstar."
That superstar wasn't always in line to go to West though.
Jamabo's older brother I.B. was a starter for Plano East, playing running back as well as periodically lining up on defense for the Panthers, and the younger Jamabo went to Carpenter Middle School. He then attended Prestonwood Christian Academy in eighth grade and a shift in attendance zones gave him the option of the Central (Plano Senior) or West feeder system.
Jamabo went to the Westside.
"I just thought I would fit better over here," he said. "And so far, with all the good people I've met, I feel like I made the right decision."
That decision came with a catch though as transferring from Prestonwood to Shepton High School meant Jamabo had to sit out varsity athletics for his freshman year.
"It was tough," Jamabo said. "But I think in the long run it has benefitted me because I got to see the older kids play and see what it took to be successful at this level."
One of the players Jamabo got to watch last year was Anderson, who was called into action as a sophomore and amassed 330 yards and four touchdowns in the process. That total included the game-winning touchdown in the Wolves' 44-36 four overtime victory over the Panthers.
If not for the emergence of Jamabo, Anderson would be West's feature back this season.
But the junior isn't complaining.
"It's nice to have another weapon on offense and another guy opposing defenses have to key in on," Anderson said. "This two-back system provides us with a good balance on offense and then we keep teams off balance with the pass too."
Though the duo doesn't socialize a great deal off the field, with Anderson at West and Jamabo still at Shepton, the two have bonded over football.
"We are running back partners, so he supports me and I support him," Anderson said. "Stats are nice, but we are both here to win and that's the most important thing."
"AA is right," he said. "Winning is the most important thing and we have been improving a lot, so teams better be ready for Plano West."
And ready for the dual rushing attack the Wolves are bringing this season.
"We have had to convert some kids to the position in years past, but we have two legit running backs now," Hughes said before wryly adding, "I think that might keep me coaching for a few more years."