Rochester John Marshall's Homecoming king played the part beautifully on Friday night at John Drews Field.
That man was Braden Black.
"It feels good to be recognized like this, letting me know that people think I'm a great person," the JM senior said.
Black also happens to be a very good football player. Friday night he was closer to a great one.
Black, a rugged 6-feet-1, 205-pound running back/linebacker, had his fingerprints all over JM's dominance of struggling Faribault, the Rockets emerging a 35-0 winner in the Big Southeast District game.
Actually, JM's dominance didn't kick in until the second half, but Black was one of the Rockets who excelled beginning to end.
The senior captain finished with three touchdowns, 105 yards rushing, an interception, and as usual was all over the competition from his middle linebacker spot.
All of that led JM to its third win in its last four games. It will take a 3-4 record into its final regular-season game Wednesday, at home against No. 1 ranked Owatonna. Faribault fell to 1-6.
Black likes where his team is headed. The Rockets have been especially good on defense, including allowing Faribault just 105 yards of total offense.
"We're doing our jobs, knowing our keys on defense and then flying to the ball," Black said. "It's been a lot of fun."
Offense was a lot of fun too on Friday for Black. After scoring just one touchdowns in his previous six games, Black got into the end zone three times against Faribault. He also averaged nearly 10 yards per carry.
Still, he wasn't ready to take much credit for it, adding one more reason for his classmates to like and respect him so much.
"I couldn't have done any of it without my o-line," Black said. "They were really opening some holes. Gotta give them all the credit."
As many smiles as there were on the JM side once the game was done, things weren't nearly so giddy in the JM locker room at halftime.
JM coach Kevin Kirkeby took that time to rip into his team. The Rockets led just 12-0 at intermission, looking lackluster en route. Kirkeby wasn't about to let them get away with it.
"I was really angry about that first half," Kirkeby said. "Our offensive line was not getting a push and our running backs were not running hard. I was incredibly frustrated with how lightly our guys were taking Faribault."
All of that taking for granted went away in the second half. That's when Black ran for 66 of his 105 yards and reserve running back Forrest Wolf, a 6-1, 195-pound senior transfer from the Twin Cities, ran for all of his 50 yards. There was also Parker Navitsky sprinting for a determined and tough 20-touchdown run.
While that was happening, JM's defense kept doing its thing, offering Faribault no openings.
"In the second half, we had to be stronger," said two-way standout lineman Deontae Veney, who helped open those running lanes and on defense tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and also had an interception of a ball tipped by fellow lineman Gabe Stangler. "It's a mindset."
The Rockets' minds had better be set for what's next. On Wednesday, No. 1 Owatonna comes to town.
John Marshall 35, Faribault 0
JM -- Braden Black 12 run (run failed), 4:04.
JM -- Black 4 pass from Cole Peterson (run failed), 8:11.
JM -- Forrest Wolf 3 run (Black run), 2:25.
JM -- Black 5 run (Forrest Wolf run), 8:51.
JM -- Parker Navitsky 20 run (Jack Ward kick), 6:32.
Total net yards#105#252
Faribault — Cael Casteel 7-10, Nick Ehlers 5-14, Alex Gardner 10-32, Taylor Day 2-19. John Marshall — Braden Black 11-105, Forrest Wolf 8-50, Parker Navitsky 12-50, Cole Peterson 2-17.
Faribault— Nick Ehlers 3 completions, 14 attempts, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, for 39 yards. John Marshall — Peterson 3-9-1-1 for 30 yards.
Faribault — Nick Flom 3-39. John Marshall — Navitsky 1-0, Trevale Moe 1-18, Black 2-8.