Keyes to Success: Senior Running Back Leading Skyline Surge

Under head coach Angelo Paffumi, the Skyline Coyotes, are building something special this season as one of the elite teams in Division II. The Coyotes moved to 4-0 Friday night with a convincing win over Mtn. Ridge.

A big reason for their success the last two seasons up to this point is the production they get on offense from their rushing attack which is featured by running back Amarii Keyes who has gone from relatively unknown to one of the elite backs in the state.

“For sure my (offensive) line,” Keyes told Sports360AZ when asked about the reason behind his success. “The line’s been keeping up with me and we’ve just been grinding in practice. We’ve been preparing and been doing well.”

From a coach’s standpoint, they knew they had a diamond in the rough long before Keyes landed on people’s radars.

“Ever since he came in as a freshman we knew that he had speed,” explained Paffumi. “He was one of the fastest kids in our city since he was a freshman and he’s just continued to get better and better ever since.”

Keyes considered himself a student of the game and also prides himself on being versatile. It’s not just the speed that now characterizes him as a player, he likes to model his game off of players that flash versatility as well.

“I like to watch De’Anthony Thomas because of his speed,” he stated. “But also Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch. Really everybody.”

“He just puts in the time,” mentioned Coach Paffumi. “He’s quietly becoming a very good track star and people don’t hear much about him so he put in time in the weight room and got stronger. Now he’s able to run inside instead of just being an outside kid.”

The recruiting attention came with the big season Keyes had in 2014 rushing for over 1,100 yards and tallying 12 total touchdowns on offense. Before the start of the 2015 season he picked up an offer from BYU and it hasn’t stopped there.

“I picked up that offer from BYU and a lot of schools have been contacting me recently,” Keyes stated.

“What really has struck the last couple of schools, especially BYU, is his character,” added Paffumi. “The kid gets good grades, he’s a student council kid. He’s doesn’t get into trouble. They liked the fact that he didn’t have social media and he’s just a straight and arrow kid. Comes from a good family. His brother is in medical school. They like the character and that’s what made them jump on him.”

Skyline looks to make it 5-0 on the season as they head out on the road down south to Salpointe Catholic next week.