Bovina’s Chisom adding finesse to straight-ahead power

Bovina senior Jonathan Chisom’s combination of size and speed makes him one of the top running backs in the area. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Rick White

BOVINA — Jonathan Chisom is learning the quickest way to the end zone is not always a straight line.
Part of the problem, according to his coach, is the sturdy Bovina running back craves collisions. With the introduction of a little swerve to his game, the 6-0, 200-pound senior is having a breakout season.
“He used to like to run over people. But now he’s more of a complete back,” first-year Bovina coach Kent Torbert said. “He still doesn’t shy away from contact, but he’s also got the speed to get to the corner.”
Chisom has rushed for 475 yards and three touchdowns this season helping the Mustangs to a surprising 2-1 start heading into Friday’s game at Vega (0-2).
“He’s our workhorse,” Torbert said. “We’d like to throw the ball a little bit more. But right now, we’re playing a lot of young kids on the offensive line and it’s taking a while to get the offense going.”
Chisom, who also starts at linebacker, said he has faith his young line will get better. Besides, he can always clear his own path.
“I’m just following my blockers,” Chisom said. “And if there’s not a hole there, I’ll make one myself.”
He found enough holes last week to rush for 211 yards in a 22-0 win over Trinity Fellowship, scoring on runs of 80 and 57 yards.
“It felt pretty good to have a game like that, but I could have done more,” Chisom said.
Torbert said he spent the off-season showing Chisom videos of top running backs to convince him that sometimes sidestepping tacklers is better than running over them.
“I’m keeping my head up and seeing the holes better,” the soft-spoken Chisom said.
He also spent a lot of time in the weight room this spring and summer, Torbert said. The hard work is paying off, as Chisom is starting to draw the attention of college recruiters.
A former Clovis High quarterback, Torbert thinks junior college might be Chisom’s best option right now.
“He’s a quiet kid, very respectful and does what we ask him to do,” Torbert said.
Right now, that is carry the team on offense and play solid defense.