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Rutschman named Athlete of the Year after stellar football and baseball campaigns



TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Adley Rutschman, a graduated senior from Sherwood High School, was named Sherwood Athlete of the Year by The Times after a stellar season in both football and baseball.Sherwood's Adley Rutschman left it all on the field during his senior season.

During football season, Rutschman led the Bowmen to an undefeated Three Rivers League title, then all the way to the Class 6A state semifinals before suffering a broken leg.

By season's end, Rutschman was a first-team all-Three Rivers League pick at both kicker and defensive end, a first-team all-state kicker and a second-team all-state selection at defensive end.

The story was much the same during baseball season, with Rutschman coming back from his football injury (not to mention an ulnar collateral ligament injury to his throwing arm suffered as a junior) for a huge year.

By season's end, he'd lifted Sherwood to a second-place finish in the always-tough TRL and back into the state playoffs, where the Bowmen fell to eventual state champion Jesuit in the second round.

Along the way, Rutschman was named first-team all-Three Rivers League as a catcher, honorable mention all-TRL as a pitcher, first-team all-state as a utility player, Gatorade Player of the Year and Oregon Sports Awards Prep Baseball Player of the Year. He was also selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 40th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball amateur draft June 11.

For all those reasons and more, Rutschman has also been selected by The Times as Sherwood's Athlete of the Year, awarded annually to the top graduated senior athlete from Sherwood High School.

With all those accomplishments already in hand, you might expect Rutschman to slow down a bit and enjoy his senior summer. But if that was what you expected, you'd be wrong — very, very wrong.

Currently, Rutschman, 18, is playing summer baseball for both the Corvallis Knights (a collegiate summer baseball team) and the Portland Baseball Club's 18U team. After his summer season, he'll leave for Oregon State — he's signed on to play baseball there beginning next fall — in early August to participate in OSU's six-credit Bridge Program.

Nonetheless, he did slow down long enough last week to talk about his stellar senior year.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: MILES VANCE - Adley Rutschman kept things at a fast pace on both the football field, and the baseball diamond, during his senior year at Sherwood High School. Rutschman is going to play college baseball at Oregon State.

Football

When it came to his choice of sport for college, football came out second-best, but you wouldn't have known it by watching Rutschman and the Bowmen last fall.

With Rutschman playing fullback and placekicker on offense, and defensive end on the other side of the football, the Bowmen — in just their second season of Class 6A competition — proved themselves to be one of the state's best.

Sherwood kicked off the year by winning its two non-league games by a combined score of 108-36, then carried that momentum into the tough Three Rivers League schedule. In this case, however, it was the Bowmen made it tough on everyone else, winning seven straight games in the TRL to take their first league championship.

“We set goals at the beginning of the season and that was definitely one of them,” Rutschman said. “To win a league championship was a great accomplishment.”

It was also an accomplishment Rutschman played a big role in achieving.

“Adley was an outstanding football player in our program,” said Sherwood head coach Greg Lawrence. “Adley was a special athlete here and everything he has done is because of the hard work he put into being the best.”

Needless to say, Rutschman and the Bowmen made some lasting memories along the way, foremost among them a wild come-from-behind win over eventual Class 6A runner-up West Linn and Rutschman's state-record 63-yard field goal in a playoff victory over TRL power Tigard.

The win over West Linn “might have been the craziest game I've ever been a part of,” Rutschman said, recalling his team's 38-35 victory at WLHS, a win that was sealed when Bowman linebacker Lukas Adams picked off Lions quarterback Tim Tawa and returned the interception for a touchdown with just four minutes remaining to play. “It was a great atmosphere. The stands were packed. It was just a great night for Friday night football.”

DAN BROOD - Adley Rutschman connected on this 63-yard field goal attempt against Tigard during play in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game played at Sherwood High School. For Lawrence, one of his best memories came when Rutschman kicked his 63-yard field goal just before halftime of the Bowmen's 41-20 playoff win over Tigard.

“With three seconds to go in the half, I called timeout with the ball on our 46-yard line. All my coaches were screaming at me 'Why did you call a timeout? What are you doing?' I told them we were going to kick a field goal and they all groaned at me,” Lawrence remembered. “We had the wind at our back and Adley nailed a state-record 63-yard field goal which sent the whole stadium and sidelines into a frenzy. It will ... be a memory I will never forget.”

The Bowmen were hardly done, either. They won another three straight in the state playoffs to stretch their winning streak to 12 games, earned a spot in the Class 6A semifinals and a rematch with TRL runner-up West Linn.

The second time around, however, was a different story for Sherwood. With running back/safety David Morris out with a concussion and Rutschman sidelined by the end of the first quarter, the Lions rolled early, built on that momentum and posted a startling 51-7 victory at Providence Park.

“It's amazing how fast things can turn,” Rutschman said. “We were battling, then a couple things go wrong … you start pressing and it's tough to get it back.”

That ignominious end, however, did nothing to tarnish Rutschman's feelings about his senior grid campaign.

“I'm very happy with how my senior year went,” he said. “We went far in the playoffs with all my friends and we went as far as we could.”

Adley Rutschman: By the Numbers

Football:

Offense — 55 carries, 412 yards, 6 touchdowns; 3 receptions, 31 yards

Defense — 14 solo tackles, 40 assists (second on team), five tackles for losses (second on team), two fumble recoveries

Kicking — 52 of 54 on extra points, 9 of 13 on field goals (including a state-record 63-yarder vs. Tigard), 38 touchbacks on kickoffs.

Baseball:

Hitting — .333 average with three homers, eight doubles, 28 walks, 14 RBIs, 20 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .524

Pitching — 14 innings pitched in seven games with 24 strikeouts, nine walks and a 1.00 ERA for a 2-0 record and five saves

Defense — At catcher, he notched 22 assists and 151 putouts and just two errors for a fielding percentage of .989

DAN BROOD - Adley Rutschman circles the bases after hitting a home run during a non-league game at North Salem. Rutschman had three home runs during his senior season at Sherwood.

Baseball

With his arm and leg both fully healed for the 2016 spring season, Rutschman was ready to go, and he showed it.

After a 4-5 start to the 2016 season, the Bowmen — with Rutschman leading the way — began to steady themselves when it mattered most in TRL play. Sherwood split its first three league series, then turned up the heat to sweep a three-game set from Tigard, two of three from Newberg and West Linn, and finished league in a three-way tie for second place.

“At the beginning of the year, I was a little worried because we had a younger team and the chemistry wasn't there until the spring trip,” Rutschman recalled. “But the coaches were able to do their thing … and I was pleasantly surprised. To get second in a very tough league is just a tribute to the coaching staff and how guys were able to step up.”

The coaching staff shared much of the credit for the chemistry the Bowmen generated with Rutschman and his leadership.

“I think he was such a great teammate because he never acted like he was better than his peers,” said Sherwood head coach Jon Strohmaier. “He is just one of the guys and that is why I think his teammates respected him so much.”

Sherwood was as hot as could be entering the state playoffs — the Bowmen had gone 9-3 in the final month of the regular season — and rallied to win their first-round game 9-3 over South Salem.

But Jesuit put the brakes on Rutschman and the Bowmen in round two, winning 2-0 en route to the first state championship in school history.

“It was definitely bittersweet, losing a close game to the eventual state champs,” he said. “You think, 'If we would have won, that could have been us.'”

That competitiveness will be one of the hallmarks of Rutschman's star-studded career at Sherwood, that and the value he put on being a good teammate.

“Adley is a once-in-a-lifetime player,” Strohmaier said. “He is obviously supremely talented on the baseball and football fields, but he is an even better person.”

That statement was backed up in a fashion by Rutschman himself, who pointed to his teammates as the most important piece of his senior season.

“I think our spring break trip was the most memorable,” he said, recalling the journey to Southern California that included a stop at Disneyland and long bus rides to games throughout the area. “We spent a lot of time together on bus rides and in the hotel and that was great because I really like all the guys. I think we'll all stay in touch because we all really got along.”

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