High school football notebook: Burrell's Bush in a rush
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Even Cole Bush is baffled by the pile-pushing success he and his Burrell teammates have had running the football through three weeks.
The Buccaneers' senior running back is the WPIAL's second-leading rusher, with 621 yards. He's averaging 9.7 yards per-carry.
“I knew we could have a successful season, but I didn't think I'd average over 200 yards a game,” said the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bush, who was expected to have more impact at outside linebacker. “I don't know, maybe I am running harder. Maybe I was a little timid last year, and I didn't know my own skill set. That was my first year as a running back.”
Last season, Bush ran for 1,024 yards and 22 touchdowns. But that was a year after moving from a wide-eyed slot receiver, and previously, a youth football tight end.
In need of a back to replace graduate Danny Domanski, Burrell went with Bush, allowing offensive coordinator and former Bucs head coach Tom Henderson to re-dot his patented “Big-I.”
The move was like throwing a tanker truck into neutral and sending it down Puckety Church Road.
Bush isn't fast — he runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash — but he gets along well with momentum.
“I am not going to burn any edges,” Bush said. “I don't know how fast a 225-pound kid is supposed to move. I just know I am not an east-west back. I move north-to-south. I mean, I have broken a tackle here or there, but the line is opening huge holes for me.”
Burrell returned an experienced line that includes seniors Shane Cornuet (left tackle), Cory Klems (left guard) and Nick Nitowski (right guard), and juniors Tyler Horwatt (center) and Chad Tonks (right tackle).
Senior Matt Hess is a team leader and another key blocker.
Bush knows he's entering an elite circle of Bucs standouts who have played the position before him.
“I know we've had some great backs here,” Bush said. “I saw them play when I was little. I wasn't being an idiot running around at games when I was in elementary school. I was watching the games.”
Bush has his sights on the Burrell records books. Career marks seem distant, and Bush won't get as many carries as his predecessors, but single-season marks are putting up their shields.
• Ian Courtney has the record for rushing yards in a season, with 1,690 in 2002. Bush is on pace for 1,863, and that's not counting any playoff games.
• Career rushing leader Tyler Henderson scored a record 27 touchdowns in 2004 — and 60 in his career. Three a game in the regular season would give Bush 27. He has 39 in his career.
• Brock White holds the single-game rushing mark, with 320 yards against Ford City in 1997.
Bush hopes colleges begin to take notice. The Patriot and Ivy league already have. He has visits planned to Bucknell and Penn, while Princeton also has shown interest in Bush, who has a 3.9 grade-point average and scored 1,200 on his SAT.
Knoch senior Ben Tackett is following in the footsteps of some of Knoch's great running backs, and by the time this season ends, he may have more touchdowns than all of them.
Tackett scored three more times last Friday at Derry to push his season total to 11, the most by any player in the WPIAL through four weeks.
Freeport did not appeal the ejection of junior lineman Nathan Rummel, who was accused of throwing a punch in last week's win against Deer Lakes.
Rummel must serve a one-game suspension — tonight's game at Valley — as per PIAA rules.
The only acceptable reasons for an appeal in a case like this would be if the player flagged was misidentified, or if there was a misapplication of a rule.
Neither applied in this case, and the official made a judgement call, so the ejection could not be appealed.
Riverview's school-record losing streak reached 10 games when the Raiders lost to West Shamokin, 25-6, last week — as West Shamokin broke a WPIAL-record, 46-game skid.
The Raiders broke the record, of seven, at the end of last season. Riverview's last win was in Week 2 of last season, 39-12.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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