They’ve seen the second of three Bean brothers to wear baby blue and red drag a pile of Leeds defenders for more than 10 yards.
They’ve seen Bean spin in the grasp of two Glencoe defenders then shed them with his patented off-arm swat.
His coach has seen enough to know when No. 34 is about to break a long run.
“Watch,” Jeff Davis says while pointing out a subtlety in Bean’s career highlight DVD. “When that head cocks back and he hits stride, it’s all over.”
Raider backers have seen Bean, head cocked back and striding, break runs in every way possible. He has amassed 4,918 yards through traditional carries as a running back, pass receptions, punt and kickoff returns.
He needs 82 to reach 5,000 — something Davis says has never been done at Pleasant Valley — and is likely to get it tonight in a key Class 2A, Region 6 game at Fyffe.
If Bean does it in a victory at Fyffe (5-1, 4-1 region), then he and his Raider teammates (4-2, 4-2) have gone many yards toward securing the school’s first varsity playoff game at home.
“It means everything,” Bean said. “It’s what I’ve been working for, pretty much my whole life.
“The (offensive) line over the past years and the line now, they’re what’s gotten me here and what’s allowed me to make that goal.”
Bean is a homegrown product, having come up through Pleasant Valley’s youth leagues. He always followed the high school team, especially when older brother Cody played defensive tackle.
Davis was told about Kyle Bean almost immediately after he became Pleasant Valley’s head coach in January of 2005.
“I had heard about him from Pee Wee games and people telling me that, ‘Hey, there’s a good running back down in the Pee Wees.’ I watched him as a seventh-grader and watched how he handled that.”
At the time, Kyle Bean was itching to be a varsity player. The following year, he hoped that Davis would bring him up to varsity.
Davis said his up-and-coming star was physically capable of playing varsity ball as an eighth-grader, but Davis worried about bringing him up too fast.
“He was mad at me all year,” Davis said. “I just wanted him to have another year of success on the junior-high level and have that to fall back on.
“… I didn’t want him to get discouraged. We were coming off an 0-10 team and then going 2-8 that year, and I knew that, if we didn’t put little things together, we could have very easily gone 0-10 again. I was just protecting him from getting gun-shy, I guess.”
Bean came out his freshman year ready to make up for lost time. He rushed for 1,078 yards in 2007 then followed that up with 1,127 as a sophomore.
Attrition caused the Raiders to reset on the offensive line after his sophomore year, and a preseason hamstring injury cost him his first four games in 2009. He still finished with 656 rushing yards in six games.
Six games into this season, Bean has 796 yards rushing.
He does it with decent speed. He clocked a 4.7-second 40-yard dash in Jacksonville State’s camp, though he has run faster times on Davis’ watch, the coach said.
“One coach asked how fast he was, and I said it depends on who’s chasing him,” Davis said.
Bean shows a clear second gear when he spots his hole and makes his cut, that makes tackling him an adventure. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, he’s strong enough to break free from multiple tacklers.
As they fall off, he makes his signature move, using his off hand to swat them away.
“He’s a physically strong kid,” Davis said. “He’s bulked up, and he was strong as a ninth-grader. He‘s always been one of the strongest kids in the weight room.”
Once in open field, Bean cocks his head back and strides. His next touchdown will be the 50th of his prep career.
“I don’t know that this school has ever had back-to-back thousand-yard rushers (before Bean),” Davis said. “You’d have to go way back to probably when David Bryant played (late 1980s) to find that.”
Interestingly, Bean’s brother Dalton is a similarly built, junior varsity running back. Kyle hopes to leave Dalton 5,000-plus reasons for motivation while realizing his own goal.
“I always tell him, I want him to be better than I was,” Kyle Bean said, “and break all my records.”
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-235-3576. Follow on Twitter @Jomedstar.