Tunkhannock running back Dustin Faux is ready to do whatever the team needs him to do.Fred Adams /The Times Leader
The way Tunkhannock tailback Dustin Faux has played last year and this year, it’s almost forgettable that he began his high school career as the starting quarterback.
“Oh, yeah,” Faux said with a laugh when reminiscing about his lone season behind center. “I was just trying to help out the team where the coach thought he needed me to be. Basically, I was just like another running back in the backfield.”
Faux won’t be remembered for his sophomore passing statistics – 14-of-38 for 77 yards and a touchdown. Nor should he be.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior will be remembered for his 1,000-yard season as a junior that helped Tunkhannock to its first District 2 playoff berth since 1993. And while a return to the district tournament seems doubtful, another 1,000-yard season doesn’t. Faux needs 138 yards in Tunkhannock’s final two Wyoming Valley Conference games to reach that mark.
“It means a lot to me,” Faux said, “but I have to give a lot of credit to the line. They are the ones who have been getting me there the past two years. They are probably the reason for three-quarters of the success I’ve had the past two years.”
Faux’s praise for his blockers isn’t feigned, according to Tunkhannock coach Steve Jervis.
“He gets a lot of press because he is a good back and carries the ball a lot,” Jervis said, “but it definitely doesn’t go to his head. He gives credit to the others around him. … He is very much a team player, but at the same time he is a team leader. He knows when he has to be tough with some kids to get them motivated.”
Jervis put Faux at quarterback as a sophomore because Tunkhannock had solid depth at the tailback position. Faux was unsure if he would remain there, but by his third game of his junior season, the switch to tailback began paying off.
Faux rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns against Lake-Lehman in his third start. Two weeks later, he had a season-high 240 yards against Athens.
He finished off the regular-season with 147 yards vs. Hanover Area and 152 more against Williamsport. His 1,069 yards on the ground made him the first Tunkhannock back to eclipse 1,000 this decade.
Moreover, how Faux did it was impressive. He showed incredible durability, carrying the ball a WVC-high 221 times while also starting on defense at strong safety.
“It’s just conditioning,” Faux said. “I condition hard and try to be ready to go and carry the ball 20 or how many times that I need to.”
Faux isn’t on pace for a similar workload in part because the Tigers have more balance on offense this season. Jervis also cut down his snaps on defense to keep him fresher.
“I love defense,” Faux said. “The past couple of years, I always wanted to play defense before I played offense. It’s not really up to me what I do, I just want to help the team out better.”
Faux has responded by increasing his yards-per-carry average from 4.8 as a junior to 6.1. He also has 12 rushing touchdowns compared to 10 last season. He has also developed into a receiver with his 15 catches the second most among WVC backs.
Jervis believes Faux could play at the college level. And like many kids growing up playing football, Faux had dreams of playing for Penn State or another Division I-A school.
However, he is also realizes that playing college football at any level may not happen. He is totally prepared to give up the game and attend a technical school if his college options aren’t as appealing.
That decision can wait. Right now, Faux and his teammates want to end the season strong – especially after a tough 35-27 loss to Wyoming Area last Saturday – and end the program’s streak of eight consecutive losing seasons.
“Our goal this week going into Hanover is to beat them,” Faux said. “Then we want to go into our last home game and beat Williamsport, maybe slip into the Eastern Conference.”