If Brett Rypien has his way, he won’t be re-writing the Greater Spokane League football record book this fall like he did last year.
Still, it’s the most obvious question going into the season. Can the Shadle Park junior duplicate the insane numbers he put up last year as a sophomore?
Rypien broke the all-time single season passing record, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 3,179 yards in nine games. He also shattered the all-time single game mark, completing 35 of 49 attempts for 577 yards in an overtime loss to Central Valley. And he got the Highlanders back to the state playoffs after a lengthy drought.
Rypien and company want more. And to get more, Rypien believes he must do less.
“We were too one dimensional last year,” Rypien said on the eve of the first fall practice. “Too many times we had to pass because we were way behind. Ideally I don’t want to have to throw for that many yards this year.”
Rypien believes the Highlanders will have an effective running game.
“People are going to be surprised with our running backs,” he said. “They’ve been working hard.”
There’s no doubt that Shadle coach Alan Stanfield and many GSL coaches believe Rypien could have a similar encore this season.
“He’s certainly capable,” Stanfield said. “But I don’t know if our team will be built the same as last year. We got behind and had to throw more. It wasn’t by design to throw it that much. This year we’d like to get leads and be able to run the ball. I can’t imagine he’ll have 400- and 500-yard games. Those were freaky.”
Rypien gives much credit for his success last year to a receiving corp that returns intact. In fact, Shadle has added some other receiving weapons.
Shadle has four athletes competing for minutes at running back.
“It’s one of our strong positions this year,” Stanfield said. “I’m high on all of them. That will make us really hard to stop if you have to defend the running game.”
Rypien hopes he sees defenses dropping eight into coverage like they did last year.
“We’ll take what the defenses give us,” Rypien said. “It would be fun to throw for that many yards again. But at the same time the goal is to win.”
Shadle just doesn’t want to get back to the state playoffs. The Highlanders want to make a deep run.
To do that, the Highlanders must depend on a rebuilt offensive line and hope that a defense that gave up more yards than Rypien threw for has grown some teeth.
Rypien rarely was without a football in his hands this summer. He went to a camp at Boise State University and a day later received a scholarship offer. He’s received five offers so far including his first from the SEC – Mississippi State. It might not be the last from the respected conference. Florida is showing much interest, he said.
Rypien has enjoyed the attention. But all of that will be put on the back burner this season.
“By spring of next year I think I’ll know where I’m going (to college) for sure,” he said.