Shah Mays makes one-hour drives for 10-second sprints.
In just two arenafootball2 games, the former South Carolina wide receiver has returned two kicks for touchdowns and has provided the Augusta Stallions with a special-teams threat. Columbus will find out how dangerous Shaw is tonight when the Stallions (3-0) play host to the Wardogs (0-2) at 7:10 at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
"Shah is fast, and he's helped us out," Stallions coach Mike Hold said. "We're happy. We'll take all the kicks we can."
Mays, 26, played sparingly at wide receiver and special teams at South Carolina from 1995-98. In 1997, Mays was a member of the Gamecocks' track team, helping to break the school's 400-meter relay record. That team finished seventh in the NCAA Championships, and Mays earned All-American honors.
"Shah just has raw speed," Stallions wide receiver/defensive back Tim Dumas said. "He gives you that deep threat that everybody has to respect."
Mays works in Columbia at a log home company from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week. When he gets off work, he makes the 70-mile drive to practice in Augusta.
"It's much worth the drive," he said. "We're winning. It'd be different if it were the other way around."
After Augusta players struggled to return kicks in the first game of the season, Mays filled the Stallions' missing link. Mays' agent spoke with Hold after the opener, and the coach put Mays on the field .
His pickup couldn't have been any better. Mays has returned six kicks for 166 yards and is third in the league with a 27.7 yard per kick average. This comes as nothing new for a guy who specialized in returning kicks at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Fla.
"I was always good at it," Mays said. "It's about the same - people coming down to kill you. You just try to dodge 'em," he said. "It's just something I've always been able to do real well."
Mays became the team's offensive specialist when Tom Starck needed time to let a hamstring injury heal. In that role, Mays has caught nine passes for 114 yards.
"I see myself as wherever they put me," he said. "I can play DB or wide receiver."
While his speed and versatility is an asset, Mays is still learning the game.
"I still don't know all the rules yet," he said. "Catching the balls off the net, I never had to do that. It's different, but it's still 10 yards for a first down. It's basically the same rules. It's just the little rules you have to adjust to."
Who: Columbus Wardogs (0-2) at Augusta Stallions (3-0)
What: First meeting between the teams
Where: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center (6,200)
When: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WRDW (1630-AM)
Notes: Stallions are on fire, winning their first three games of the year. A win tonight would put them at 4-0 heading into a bye week. Augusta plays its third straight arenafootball2 expansion team this week.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.
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