During a Kentucky high school playoff game, Landon Board could barely see the end zone from where he was standing.
Class 5A Owensboro High School was backed up on their own 1-yard line against Greenwood High School.
All head coach Jayson Fallin wanted to do was get the offense a little breathing room by calling a simple off-tackle play for Board that he hoped would translate into a five-yard gain.
Instead, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound junior running back took it 99 yards for a score.
The run was just one example, said Fallin “of dozens and dozens” of great runs during his time at Owensboro.
“He’s a very incredible player,” the head coach said.
The touchdown capped off a season in which Board tallied 1,804 yards and 24 TDs.
As a senior, Board continued his prep success by rushing for 27 touchdowns and 1,805 yards on 196 attempts.
But even though Board completed his high school career as Owensboro’s second all-time leading rusher and was an honorable mention on the 2016 Associated Press Kentucky All-State football team, the college scholarship offers have been hard to come by.
“I know I have the talent to play,” he told HBCU Sports. “It’s frustrating.”
Though there has been some small school interest in Board, according to Fallin, the running back was unable to secure a solid football scholarship overture.
“We’ve worked very hard to give him exposure to many colleges as possible,” said Fallin. “He’s very dedicated to working hard and becoming a better player, which everyone knows is a big part of the equation.”
Board’s mother, ShaLanda Williams, said she’s sent an estimated 800 emails to coaches across the country about her son, who has only received invitations to walk-on even though he’s performed well at various football camps.
One theory to explain the lack of significant interest in Board is that he happens to live in an eastern Kentucky city home to less than 60,000 people that doesn’t attract much national media attention or exposure regionally like Louisville or Lexington.
“Hopefully something will come about,” Williams said. “We don’t have a plan right now.”
Williams, who attended law school at Florida A&M, said her son has a deep interest in playing football at an HBCU.
“I’ve always been interested in black culture,” said Board, who listed North Carolina Central, Grambling State, North Carolina A&T and Alabama A&M as the schools he’d consider playing for. “I feel like an HBCU would be a fit for me.”
Playing football at an HBCU, or anywhere, would be meaningful for Board, who comes from a family of athletes, including his father, Lawrence Board, who recently battled leukemia.
In between football and school responsibilities during his junior season, Board and his mother would make routine trips to a Cincinnati hospital to visit his father while he underwent treatment.
“After every game, we would drive to the hospital to see his dad,” Williams said. “Landon would be in the room reading to him.”
Board said he uses his father as motivation to pursue a career in athletics.
“I would be the first one in family to play college football all four years,” he said. “All of us have been good at sports, but nobody has pursued it like I have.”
With a decision nearing on his post-high school football outlook, Williams said Board should place himself in a situation that is conductive to him achieving academic and athletic success.
“My advice to him was anything can happen with football,” she said. “If it comes down to walking on to a program, you want to go somewhere you like the quality of education. You want to make sure you’re at a university that you like.”