Built differently: Boria continues to fuel Cherokee offense

Junior running back rushed for 230 yards, four TDs against Eastern in first game of October

MATTHEW SHINKLE/South Jersey Sports Weekly: Cherokee junior Brandon Boria is among the state’s leaders in rushing yards, having recorded 530 rushing yards and seven touchdowns through the Chiefs’ first four games.

When Brandon Boria rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns against Eastern Regional High School during Cherokee’s first game on Oct. 1, it was just another performance by the junior running back that showed what kind of athlete he is. 

The Chiefs would win the game 33-7, thanks to Boria and his 31 carries. The natural skill and work ethic Boria has offered since day one at Cherokee has made him an immediate impact player for Cherokee since his freshman year, something he continues to be as his junior football season goes on.

“Since Brandon came to us his freshman year, he was just different,” said coach Brian Galtz. “He’s got a mentality that allowed him to play varsity as a freshman here, which has only happened a handful of times at Cherokee High School. He’s got a different mentality that allows him to play fast and physical and play well starting at such a young age, and he obviously still is now.” 

Despite being a freshman in the 2019-2020 season, Boria led the Chiefs in rushing yards and attempts during Cherokee’s 13 game season. Despite a limited season last year due to COVID, he racked up 874 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games to remain the undisputed lead back. 

In the win against Eastern, Boria had his best statistical game of the season so far, rushing for the second-most yards of his career while also tying his career high for touchdowns in a single game. Following such a performance, Boria is back in the conversation as one of the best running backs in the West Jersey Football League midway through the season.

“He’s not afraid to play full speed all the time in a physical nature,” Galtz said. “Most kids coming in don’t understand early on how to play at their maximum capacity … so when you combine his high-potential capacity and his different mentality to give everything he’s got on every play, that’s just something you usually see develop over time with certain guys, and not just come in on day one with.”

Boria, nicknamed “Bam” by his teammates and coaches, comes from a military family and for that reason has played for various schools across the country throughout his childhood. He remembers being in Virginia at about 5 years old when he first started playing football, but Boria was in New Mexico for about three and a half years shortly afterwards when he started to take the sport more seriously. 

Boria’s football journey has landed him in Marlton. But while he continues his high-school football career in New Jersey, his different mindset is due to the youth coaches he worked with as he moved across the U.S. with his family.

“My old youth coach from New Mexico always said he wanted you to give 110 percent on the field, and that’s something that’s always something I live by now,” Boria said. “People always ask me if I really love football, and I’m not going to say I absolutely love it, but why would you waste a gift that’s been given to you? I’m not going to not give it my best because then there’s no point in playing from the start.”

The ability to adapt to each team’s style and learn from the various coaches through the years has helped Boria increase his football IQ, something he’s thoroughly enjoyed. 

“Each coach coaches differently, so you get a feel for it and learn so many things from each one,” he said. “Then you’re able to adapt anywhere you go and kind of put your own twine to it.” 

With a slightly younger team this season after the graduation of last year’s seniors, Cherokee  looks forward to the development of several key players in 2021 to create a strong core for next season. 

As for Boria, he hopes to go out on top as he leaves his mark on Cherokee.

“I want to get these guys experience this year and help them get a feel, because we have a lot of new starters,” he said, “That way, next year it could really be a great year for us if we’re ready out of the gate.

“As for me,” he added, “I want to break a Cherokee record …  I don’t really care what it is;  whatever I break is fine with me.”