HARVARD, Neb. — With just nine active players on their roster, Harvard will be small yet mighty this season, especially with Xavier Marburger running out of the backfield.
"They call me 'the Gazelle' because of how light I am on my feet and how I pounce around everywhere," said Marburger.
Xavier, better known as "X" has a unique style when grinding on the gridiron.
"He's quite the kid," said Harvard head coach Terry Owens. "He's got good explosiveness, quick. I guess what I call him more is a slasher."
"When I'm running the ball, I'm really good at finding gaps, so I can slash right into them and make openings even if they're not there," said Marburger.
That was on full displays in Harvard's season-opening win over Santee as the senior tailback was the Cardinal's "X"-factor, scoring seven touchdowns.
"There were a lot of cutback lanes, like if we'd run the ball right, I'd cut back and go left or run the ball left and cut back and go right," said Marburger. "That was on multiple of my touchdowns on Friday night."
"He's good and elusive and can get through those small holes," said Owens. "He's got the quickness to be gone when he gets through those holes.
Xavier credits his success in track & field for helping develop the way he runs.
"It helps keep me in shape for football, especially since I'm a sprinter, I have to do a lot of sprints," said Marburger. "The jumping really helps with my calf strength and it helps me stay agile on my feet."
He also has his childhood best friend to thank for getting him into the sport in the first place.
"He never wanted to play football through junior high and even his freshman year, but kind of talked him into it his sophomore year," said senior Noah Roberts. "I think he just fell in love with it since."
While seven touchdowns won't be the "X"-pectation moving forward, Coach Owens knows the Cardinals' future success could be dependent on Xavier.
"He's gonna have to stay healthy for us or we're probably gonna be in trouble 'cause we don't have anybody else with the speed that he has."