Sports

UCA Running Back Sets High Bar For Success

“Even when I’m having a bad day, football is my getaway,” senior running back Cedric Battle said.

Battle has only played one year with UCA football, but he has spent most of his life on the gridiron.

Growing up in Nevada, he played in the Nevada Youth Football League, where he scored 4-5 touchdowns per
game.

His mother moved their family to Texas when he was 13-years old and he credits that move as the moment when his football career began.

“In Texas, they take high school football seriously,” Battle said.

He went to Hirschi High School in Wichita Falls, Texas, and becoming the lead running back his junior year. They went 7-4 that year but fell back to 3-8 during his senior season.

Despite his team’s struggles, Battle proved his impressive skill. In one game during his senior season, he rushed for 531 yards in three quarters.

When Battle was a senior and the team’s starting quarterback got hurt, the team became a wildcat offense with
Battle playing quarterback.

He finished his high school career as the all-time leading rusher for Hirschi, amassing 4,270 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Battle played football for two seasons at Trinity Valley Community College.

He said the competition was much tougher than high school was for him.

“In high school … every game I knew I was going for at least 200 rushing yards,” Battle said. “College was a step up, with players coming from different states and programs.”

Battle also had to learn a completely different offensive system than what he used in high school.

He gained 2,060 all-purpose yards in 17 games for TVCC.

As a junior college prospect, he signed with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but quickly transferred to UCA because it was a better fit for him.

In his first year at UCA, Battle had 220 yards rushing, 340 yards receiving and added 649 yards in kickoff and punt returns.

It is a new role for him, as he has had to go from being the bell cow running back in high school to now being used more sporadically.

He says it has been a hard transition, but that he trusts his coaches and how they will utilize him.

Battle was mainly used out of the backfield last year, but says he could get more action on the outside and in the slot this season.

He models his game after Tavon Austin, who was electric at West Virginia before being drafted by the Rams in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Like Austin, Battle does a little bit of everything.

Battle finished the 2017 season incredibly strong, with 154 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns against New
Hampshire.

Battle said his goal for the upcoming season is to make it to the national championship.

During his time at TVCC, he was just a game away from a championship.

“Last year, I feel like we had a championship team,” Battle said. “I’m a senior now, so every down, every game … it all counts to me.”

The only thing Battle values more than football, is his daughters: AnaLeah and LaMiah. He takes health
education classes and said he tries to ensure that he and his daughters lead a healthy life.

They Facetime every chance they get.

“They mean the most to me,” Battle said. “I want to set a high bar for them and push them to be the best they can be. Everything I do is for them.”

Photo by Lauren Swaim.

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